In June 2018, I had the pleasure to sit down with Waste Management Review, one of Australia’s leading waste management publications. The team at WMR were writing an article on smart waste management and the changing of the guard in waste management collection. The article covers some of the great work Australian cities and councils are doing in the smart waste space and deep dives into how Georges River, Hume and Wyndham City Councils are gaining more than just efficiency with their smart waste deployments… Please enjoy Chapter 3 of our exclusive 6 part series.

If you missed Chapter 2 – CONNECTING CITIES, see the following link:

An Intelligent Waste Series Chapter 3 – SMART BIN POTENTIAL

Funded by the federal government, Smart Social Spaces: Smart Street Furniture Supporting Social Health aims to ensure cities and governments are able to get the best use out of high quality spaces by being smarter with their resources. UNSW is targeting infrastructure such as park benches, seats, tables, outdoor barbeques, lights, and most importantly for the waste industry – bins. Dr Nancy Marshall, Senior Lecturer in City Planning at UNSW says “with bins, there’s already a significant amount of technology available. Sensors inside bins are able to detect how full it is, letting garbage contractors know when they need to pick it up. It can also be fitted with a heat sensor to alert emergency services in case of a fire,” she says. “This means that if someone was to throw out a lit cigarette butt, the bin would be able to automatically inform the correct people about a possible fire.”

Nancy also says that by collecting data and taking an evidence-based approach, UNSW will be able to provide councils with information to support their decision making. “The sensors inside the bin aren’t obvious to the outside, as they are encased inside. I’ve been told that they use less power than a watch and can help to get users engaged with the technology. “Because they provide councils with information in real time, they’re able to route their waste collections more efficiently and stop issues like bins overflowing. With that long-term data, they can assess whether an area needs more or less bins, whether they need to be moved and the behaviours of waste generators.”



Bins are also able to be outfitted with solar panels to power other helpful, and potentially lifesaving, abilities.

“Smart bins have the capability of making public announcements. For example, they would be able to alert people nearby to evacuate a plaza and all kinds of public service announcements.”

Street Furniture Australia is coating the smart bins with a teflon paint that is largely graffiti-proof – to improve area aesthetics and reduce council clean-up costs.

Nancy says this technology can also be used in regional areas and is ideal for farmers.

“Drone technology is already being used in some areas, while sensors are able to check water tanks which could be kilometres away. It saves property owners time and money, and the speed of data available is incredible.”

Nancy and the team’s research into smart sensors aims to have flow-on health benefits and pleasing aesthetics for urban areas.

“There’s nothing more unappealing than a bin that’s overloaded with garbage. They’re messy, they can attract wildlife and are unhealthy. Solar compacting bins can help deal with these issues, which is critical in dense areas,” she says.

“Successful governments and businesses will need to be nimble and open to seeing the benefits of smart infrastructure.”

As always, if my team or I can assist with any of your waste management needs please do not hesitate to reach out on 1330 893 610 or 0408 060 827 or [email protected]

Coming soon: Chapter 4 – SMART BINS IN VICTORIA

Can’t wait? Download the entire article here