Every year the world produces over 2 billion metric tons of waste, with at least 33% of it not managed in an environmentally safe manner. The lack of interoperability between disparate systems creates a mountain of waste that becomes a serious health and environmental hazard. Currently, handling of waste is a manual process. Therefore, the centralised storage and tracking of data is inefficient, results in costly delays, and negatively impacts the environment.

A smart waste management system can revolutionise this process by offering an innovative solution to automate all waste disposal logistics. By digitising waste management practices, essential information about collection, routing, and disposal times is made accessible. Whether you’re interested in creating your own smart city or simply want your trash collected more efficiently, new technologies like sensors and connected devices offer many possibilities for improving your city services.

What is smart waste management?

Smart waste management is a complete solution that offers a smart way to manage waste in a smart city. It focuses on reuse and recycling while targeting waste prevention to reduce the overall carbon footprint. IoT-enabled waste management solutions - such as real-time monitoring and analytics tools, mobile data collection apps, and wireless equipment - provide useful information to support operational decisions and improve fleet efficiency. These systems are often integrated with existing IT infrastructures, which means they can be implemented quickly and easily. In addition, these systems are often cloud-based, so they can be accessed from anywhere at any time using any device. This makes it easy for staff to access reports and collaborate with colleagues to tackle challenges together.

5 benefits of smart waste management

1. Reduced Waste Collection

The application of smart waste management to waste collection has proved that it is possible to reduce collections by up to 80% whilst maintaining and improving customer service levels. It also proves that it is possible to use less workforce, fewer vehicles, and less fuel without compromising on the quality of service. This reduction in cost for both operational and capital expenditure means a massive saving for city operators compared to traditional methods of waste collection.

2. Collection of Data

Smart waste management systems collect a range of data, including how people use their trash cans. This can be used to optimise bin placement and even drive changes in behaviour by making it easier for users to recycle or compost. Other data collected by smart trash cans, such as fill level or activity level, can be used by sanitation workers to plan their routes or even encourage residents not to throw away recyclable items in general. This makes waste management less resource-intensive and more eco-friendly.

3. Improved Recycling

An enormous amount of recyclable material goes to waste in landfills every year. Smart bins collect, categorise, and analyse waste data with the aim of increasing waste recycling rates. They provide waste management organisations with real-time information on generation, density, composition, and weight, enabling them to run more efficient operations, reduce operational costs, and maximise their waste management revenue while making a positive impact on the environment.

4. Lower Number of Bins Needed

With smart waste management, effective waste collection can be carried out using a single data-driven automated process. A lower number of bins can be used to collect trash since it allows us to distribute the correct type of trash container at the right place. For example, if your city has 20 bins that are each emptied once per week, smart bins could reduce that number to 5–10 bins—saving money on installation, maintenance, collection, and disposal costs.

5. Improved Air & Water Quality

While traditional bins do help control the growing amount of waste in our cities to an extent, they don’t take into account air and water quality. What’s more, they aren’t equipped with technology that can change that. Smart bins, on the other hand, serve the purpose of properly disposing solid and liquid industrial by-products. Proper waste removal helps improve air and water quality, reduces the risks of disease and illness, and decreases greenhouse gas emissions.

The role IoT plays in smart waste management

Already proving itself to be one of the world’s most innovative industries, the Internet of Things (IoT) is also establishing itself as an important element in smart waste management systems worldwide. As IoT devices continue to proliferate, it will become increasingly easy for people to maximise their resources and cut costs from things like smart digital bins that tell you when they’re full. Data and information obtained from a smart waste management solution can be shared with other connected devices to help optimise pickup routes for sanitation workers or alert nearby citizens when it’s time for them to contribute their share of trash disposal.

How smart waste management can help build a sustainable world

It has been estimated that by 2025, global waste is expected to grow to 3.4 billion tonnes. With our reliance on technology continually increasing, along with rising costs of living, it’s clear that smart waste management systems can help us build a sustainable world—which will be necessary to support a growing population in years to come.

With IoT technology at work, you’ll have access to real-time information on how your processes are working—or not working—and you can make adjustments as needed. This type of feedback loop is essential for sustainable business practices because it helps reduce unnecessary resource use and makes everyone involved accountable for their actions. In other words, when you start using smart waste management solutions with an eye toward sustainability, there’s no way around improving your practices—you have no choice but to become more efficient!


Today, many cities are turning to sensors and Big Data solutions in an effort to improve waste management practices. While these solutions have already shown early signs of success, further advancements in technology will continue to increase their effectiveness and make it easier for local governments to reduce waste by boosting recycling rates. As a result, IoT is quickly becoming one of today’s most promising sustainable solutions for managing our resources more efficiently and keeping our environment clean and healthy.

Are you looking for a Smart Waste Management solution for your smart city? Connect with one of our IoT experts to discuss how we can help you.