The waste and recycling industry has become familiar with the Internet of Things (IoT) or the inter-networking of physical devices, vehicles (also referred to as "connected devices" and "smart devices") and other items.
“Smart” also is a familiar word tacked onto things like “trucks” and “bins” within the industry to signify that these devices or vehicles have additional technology and sensors that can track and monitor usage, among other things.
But the Internet of Garbage (IoG) is something one Israel-based technology company, GreenQ, hopes to make a household term.
“We’re all about the Internet of Garbage (IoG). We’re bringing sensors and big data analytics to residential garbage routes so municipalities can reduce expenses, reduce emissions and provide better services to their citizens,” according to the company’s website.
GreenQ, with U.S. offices in Bexley, Ohio, was established in 2015 with the goal of bringing efficient technology to the waste management space through its monitoring device.
Waste360 recently sat down with Shlomy Ashkenazi, CEO and cofounder of GreenQ Ltd., to discuss the company’s monitoring device, also known as smart truck system, and to learn more about the IoG concept.
Waste360: When and why was GreenQ established?
Shlomy Ashkenazi: In July 2015, GreenQ's founders suddenly realized there were billions of dollars being thrown into the garbage and dissolving into [greenhouse gasses] due to an unmonitored and inefficient waste collection process. Thus, they founded a startup with the goal of making garbage trucks smarter.
Our smart waste management services are designed to meet the needs of municipalities, integrators and collection providers. GreenQ is currently operating in seven sites, with a [software as a service] business model, that differentiate to a monthly plan and yearly plan.
Waste360: What is the “Internet of Garbage”?
Shlomy Ashkenazi: The world is getting in to the IoT era. We are engaging in IoT as well, but we do it in a specific niche and apply our technology on garbage trucks and waste bins, we are doing Internet of Garbage.
Waste360: What type of hardware do you provide for waste haulers?
Shlomy Ashkenazi: We provide haulers with measuring, computing and monitoring sensors designed for heavy duty. The hardware is installed on existing trucks and does not require any internal modification to the trucks.
Waste360: What does the technology do and how does it work?
Shlomy Ashkenazi: A tracking device is installed on any garbage truck, making it a smart truck in just a one-day installation, enabling monitoring waste collection to a single bin level for only few cents per can.
With every lift of a waste bin, the system on the truck measures the amount of waste inside the bin and monitors the time and location of the pickup. The data is analyzed and sent through the cloud, directly to the end user's mobile device along with notifications for any unusual event and recommendations for optimization of the collection process.
Waste360: Why did you choose to use this particular technology?
Shlomy Ashkenazi: We wanted to support the global efforts of reducing waste and enabling sustainability. We understood that the recycling and re-using spaces are getting the spotlight, while collection and disposal is left aside. The recycling hierarchy starts with collection, which is as important as the other parts of the pyramid.
Waste360: What specific benefits have you experienced?
Shlomy Ashkenazi: The GreenQ system is a learning machine that predicts waste production rates on a single bin level. After a few weeks, the hauler will know in advance when each bin will be full and when is the right time to execute every route out of its route pool. By knowing the waste production rate, the hauler could provide a better service to the municipality which enjoys a major decrease in waste related complaints from its residents.
Waste360: Is the data collected in real-time? If yes, how?
Shlomy Ashkenazi: Yes, real time status of the bins is collected and the truck is gathered and shown in an easy-to-use platform.
Waste360: How is this different than installing sensors on the bins themselves?
Shlomy Ashkenazi: Our unique technology enables large scale monitoring with minimum installations, for example—a collection of more than 500,000 residents is taking place with no more than 100 devices.
Waste360: Were there any challenges implementing?
Shlomy Ashkenazi: The challenges are mainly in are integrating technology and new ideas in to quite old-fashioned industry. For this reason, focus on the haulers and municipalities specific needs, emphasizing the value of our technology.
Waste360: Do you provide your technology to any waste haulers in the U.S.?
Shlomy Ashkenazi: We are approaching the U.S market along with strategic partners and offering medium size players to get to know our technology.
GreenQ believes in collaborations and therefore we are here, to find new partners. Our smart waste management services are designed to meet the needs of municipalities, integrators and collection providers. The technology can be applied on various kinds of collection platforms: loaders, grapple trucks, roll-off, underground bins and stationary compactors.