Derby City Council rolls out litter bin sensors

Derby City Council is rolling out new litter bin sensor technology, following a successful trial.

The technology uses predictive ‘fill-level’ sensor technology that accurately monitors how fast a bin is filling up and provides an alert when the bin needs emptying.

The technology will now be deployed in litter bins across parks, streets and open spaces to reduce overflowing litter bins and manage bin collections more efficiently and effectively.

Prior to the technology trial, every litter bin was emptied as part of a scheduled routine area cleanse, which is  determined by the rate at which the area falls below a required standard of cleanliness. As such, bins were emptied based on team knowledge or recurring complaints. 

The predictive ‘fill-level’ sensor technology was initially trialled in 200 litter bins on Derby’s streets. The bins that were part of the trial were in areas where the routine cleansing was once every few weeks, so they relied on an enhanced collection.

Reducing bin visits by 53%

The trial reduced the number of overflowing bin complaints and transformed the collection rounds' efficiency. The technology has allowed for routes to be fully optimised, detailing the order each bin should be emptied and the route the operatives should take from site to site.

By cutting out  unnecessary trips and emptying bins only when they were needed, the council reduced the number of visits to bins by 53%. It has also had a positive environmental impact, reducing the local authority’s carbon footprint.

This new way of working has improved operations and freed up capacity to carry out other work. 

Sam Kelly, Service Manager at Derby City Council said: “This digital solution has enabled a smarter, leaner way of working. The future capabilities of the technology include the ability for us to make more data-led decisions – such as knowing if an area requires an additional bin or a double capacity bin to reduce littering.

"For example, when additional bin requests are received, a temporary sensor bin can be utilised to assess the fill level and determine if a bin is actually required. This also allows a review of the current ‘binfrastructure’ as the system can be used to see if any bins are not being used. This will help to inform where bins can be removed or relocated, so communities have ‘the right bin in the right place’.”

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