I asked Andreas Schmidt, Division Manager for Waste at MOBA what is important to know about Waste Management and Identification Systems and what are the obstacles to look out for.
Question: What are municipalities looking for establishing a waste management system for their communities?
Answer: I’m assuming your question points at waste management systems supported by RFID, Telematics and weighing solutions. The purposes of these systems are cost- reduction and motivation for waste separation by Pay- As- You-Throw (PAYT). The waste management system based on bin identification and weighing has to be embedded into a whole waste strategy specified to a country’s or city’s needs. The motivation to charge by fee for separating waste from reusable materials should be combined with offers to dispose the waste easily. That means that it has to be clearly defined what type of waste falls into that category of reusable materials. This has to be easy to figure out for the end-user which means less work and effort as an incentive. That should be realized by a smart bin management and bring- and-collect systems.
The bring- system can be a central based container or collection stations.
There are a lot of well- running systems in the market which show results in residual waste reduction, stable or decreasing fees for waste disposal and increasing share of reusable material.
The table above outlines the benefits to keep the fee level low, even when all other surrounding costs are increasing at the same time. The fee level could decrease in the sample project city of Mühldorf (Germany) by 21% within 5 years using a PAYT system. If you compare the projects of the city of Dresden (Germany) and Düsseldorf (Germany) the fee levels for similar services are quite different although the size of the cities are similar.
Question: What are the advantages?
Answer: The reduction of residual waste and increase of reusable material are the main success factors of PAYT. The results of the county Aschaffenburg (Germany) are achieved through high involvement of the county administration to manage their waste system in place.
This diagram shows very well the decrease in residual waste in 1997 when RFID and weighing system were installed the first time. Residual waste went down to 30% and is stable since then. In the same dimension, reusable material is increasing. The administration for the Aschaffenburg county set up a complete new system with bins for kitchen waste and collection stations. The results reflect the acceptance of the system by their residents accomplished by a good waste strategy in place and low fee levels.
Another advantage is that the municipality and waste disposal company as well can use the data for optimizing their logistics. The system is able to deliver reports which are helpful for management of all involved parties to handle the system better. If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it. This slogan brings it down to the point.
Question: What are the obstacles?
Answer: The obstacle can be the effort to introduce the system and the investment. But it is always the same challenge for big projects with software, hardware and service involved. It is an effort to install everything but if the system is ready and runs, it has great benefits managing waste more efficient.
Question: How long does it take for implementation?
Answer: You should reserve the main time slot for the assembly of bins or containers with transponders in the field. Using existing bins or changing to new ones require the same amount of time.
One team is in general able to assemble 150 until 250 bins per day, depending on the site density. In a city the amount of bins assembled in a certain time frame is of course higher than in the countryside. The overall time for completion depends on the number of assigned teams and number of bins in a project. The higher the number of teams the faster you get done! The assembly of truck equipment and software installation is done in the meantime.
You should take into account to add some weeks before the bin assembly and some after that for system boot- up and test. A good supplier will help you to plan a project like an architect is doing that for house construction under particular conditions.
Question: How does a typical system look like?
Answer: The main parts of the system are:
A good service starts with a project plan overall. This should be agreed on by all participants. The maintenance of hard- and software can be covered through a service agreement. This enables the customer to have a good handle on costs and gives peace of mind for service.
A big service package is the assembly of bins in the field. In practice, this part is best done by external people hired for that project. The project management needs to handle the organization of the install because it is the most important part for the success of the whole system. Costs can increase significantly if this is not done right.
Question: Are there different system- and service levels and what are these levels?
Answer: There are different levels of system available:
1. The system works as a bin counter for pay- by- volume. In this system a very simple data collector is installed with only few opportunities to communicate with the driver and/ or loader. This level is useful for a simple bin detection system as PAYT basis.
2. The system can be extended by various options for tour and job display, navigation, input of additional information from tour, GPS tracking and wireless data communication. This level is useful for cost optimization and better management of complaints.
3. It is self-evident that the scale is needed for pay- by- weight- system. There are different weighing systems available for various types of trucks and lifters.
4. The software should work optional as a Client-Server or Web- based solution. Good software is configurable to match to existing ERP solutions at the customer’s office.
A modular system should include :
The software should cover customized requests and it has to be able to run over a long period of time.
Thank you, Andreas Schmidt, for the great insights into Waste Management Systems!
Do you have any experience with Waste Management Systems or questions? Share your thougths!