December 11, 2020

How sensors can make regular waste containers smart

December 11, 2020

How sensors can make regular waste containers smart

Norrsidans Innovation provides an IoT solution for smart waste management. After working on a prototype at Södertälje Science Park and using the testbed at Urban ICT Arena, they are now ready for the next step.

Today waste containers in cities are emptied according to schedules or after inspection. This means that they are emptied half-full, or inspected without being emptied. This creates unnecessary transports that could be reduced with smart sensor technology that measures how full the containers are. The problem is that there are already hundreds of thousands of trash cans in our cities. Replacing all of them with more modern variants with built-in sensors would be bad from both an economic and sustainability perspective.

The Stockholm-based company Norrsidans Innovation creates sensors that are installed on existing waste containers. Through the support from the innovation ecosystem, they have taken their solution from prototype to large-scale tests and are now ready to expand.

Met at a startup hub

Anders Helgesson and Linfan Zhang met for the first time at a startup hub and started collaborating. They began their journey with an idea to simplify waste management, and started to develop a sensor solution that would not require large investments for the customer.

They contacted the municipality of Södertälje, and they agreed to test the solution in the center of the city. Via the municipality, they also came into contact with Södertälje Science Park and were able to use their prototype workshop to manufacture various prototypes with the help of their 3D printers. When the product was ready to be tested, they needed to find a partner.

– We contacted Vestre, which manufactures the most common waste containers in the Stockholm region. They liked the idea and contributed to the pilot project in Södertälje, says Anders Helgesson.

Successful pilot led to new contacts

The project in Södertälje was successful. It was when Södertälje municipality presented the work they carried out together with Norrsidans Innovation at Kista Data Day, when they also came into contact with Kista Science City and its co-creation arena Urban ICT Arena.

– We have had great help from Urban ICT Arena. Thanks to the availability of both LoRaWAN and Narrowband IoT in the testbed, we have been able to test new network solutions for our sensors, says Anders Helgesson.

It was also thanks to Urban ICT Arena that they in early 2020 had the opportunity to showcase their products at an exhibition on Swedish innovation at the Swedish Embassy in Washington D.C. They also came in contact with Rinkeby-Kista district administration. They are now collaborating on the test in Kista.

Plans to expand to more municipalities

In 2021, the company plans to continue to deliver its technology to more municipalities in Sweden. Via their software service, where a route is suggested automatically based on how full the containers are, they can see that their sensors make a big difference.

– We can see that the sensors used in Södertälje have contributed to much more efficient routes and have also saved up to 75% of work time. Within a year, solutions like these will become cost-effective, Anders Helgesson concludes.

Read more about Norrsidans Innovation at their website.

We talked with Norrsidans Innovation for Kista Data Day earlier this year:

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