Most of the cities around the world have to face huge waste problem. But this is not all, levels are expected to double over the next two decades in low and middle income countries too.

Having understood the needs of various municipalities and aiming to empower smart cities and sustainable NGOs, a South Korean start-up is tackling urban waste while focusing on emerging markets in Latin America trialling waste data solutions.

Ecube is a South Korean company that produces solar-powered, smart waste bins which enables cities to check the levels of rubbish in every single bin and this is not all, the tech also compacts the waste. Incredible, don’t you think?

To be fair in this case, waste technology is not usually top of the list when it comes to smart city infrastructure. It is common to think more often about energy, transportation or water efficiency. But the market is there and it is definitely growing, with smart urban waste solutions estimated to help process more than 40% of all urban waste worldwide.

Many of this Latin American cities such as Bogota, Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Santiago of Chile are already embracing digital tracking of waste collection trucks, “Latin America is becoming more environmentally aware and tech-savvier” and without doubts these countries have an increasing role to play.

In 2015 Ecube Labs equipped two cities in Colombia, Ibague and Santa Marta, with smart waste networks using 130 of its Clean Cubes – Featuring sleekly designed bins fitted with compactors and fill sensors that report when the bin is ready to be picked up – as well as a Wi-Fi hotspot and an LED ad screen, all powered by a solar panel.

One of the main benefits of this smart system is that drivers don’t have to waste time checking on empty bins. This results positively affect time efficiency and can lower waste management operational costs by 80%, according to Ecube Labs.

The network is very easy to reach and use, drivers just need to download the app.

On top of sensing how full the bins are, the software calculate when the bins will be full and make recommendations for driver shift changes, route alterations, optimal bin sizes and other ways to improve business operations.

For more details about this story please visit the Guardian Sustainable Business, Elaine Ramirez (2016)

Image: Ecube (2016)

 

Andrea Montalvo

Andrea Montalvo

Corporate Social Responsibility Support Coordinator at University of Westminster
Andrea joined the Social Responsibility team in January 2016 in the role of CSR Support Coordinator and she is currently responsible for coordinating the implementation of the governance, communications, training, reporting, staff, student & stakeholder engagement elements of the CSR Strategy.

Andrea can be contacted at: a.montalvo@westminster.ac.uk
Andrea Montalvo

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