While everything around us has become “smart” and tech-focused such as our cars, phones, etc, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing this same phenomenon being applied to waste collection. Pittsburgh will soon spend upwards of $580,000 on hundreds of “smart” waste bins – disposal cans that send an alert to employees at Public Works when they’ve reached maximum capacity.
These new waste bins are expected to reduce the hours of work employees are assigned to check on the amount of waste in bins all over the city, after receiving the go-ahead from City Council from a 5 to 2 vote. The aim is to increase efficiency and reduce the amount of overflowing litter.
Some city leaders can’t get behind the new rule, insisting the cost for such a small change is too high. Other are optimistic that these smart cans will have a significant impact on working hours.
The smart waste bins are to be arranged by this summer, and the city will begin to observe and analyze the effects they have.
What are your thoughts on “smart bins” and do you think Toronto would benefit from something similar?
In an attempt to decrease garbage littered in its underground train system, New York took away its waste bins and watched citizens react. Instead of people discarding their garbage elsewhere, however, the volume of litter in the stations increased with the absence of the waste bins, causing the city to scrap the idea.
The experiment began in 2011, implemented in only two stations at first. By 2014, the number had grown to thirty-nine, but the test came to a close in 2016 after a surplus of waste and track fires were detected. With over 450 underground train stations in the city, excess litter quickly became a health and safety hazard that could not be tolerated.
The test’s organizers admit that their hope for not only littered waste, but waste in general, to decrease was somewhat unrealistic. The major American city is looking into better options to clean up litter on the tracks and prevent it from getting there at all.
Although the original test had adverse effects, it was a valiant effort nonetheless.