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Development of an affordable and ruggedized VSCEL TOF Laser Sensor to monitor waste level in waste bins for sustainable waste management

Tildelt: kr 99 999

EU’s ambitious targets in their “Waste management”-Directive set pressure on municipalities to reduce amount of household waste through improved waste management. “Pay-as-you-throw” schemes for charging waste producers based on the actual amount of generated waste, are suggested as incentives to achieve implementation. Therefore it is imperative that it exists systems in the market that can register the amount of waste in small household waste bins. Most municipalities have no systems for monitoring waste filling level in small household waste bins. The technology used by a few municipalities, is weighing the waste when hooked on the garbage truck, but the method is unreliable, costly and cause a lot of hassle. Monitoring the fill levels of small waste bins in real-time with a filling level sensor offers a less expensive and reliable solution compared to weighing to optimize collection routes, reduce fuel consumption and minimize emissions. The high cost of filling level sensors for use in large waste containers has been a hindrance for developing low-cost sensors and systems for small waste bins that are affordable for municipalities with limited budgets. This results in continuation of manual waste collection schedules, resulting in wasted resources and inefficient operations. The SmartWasteTag project aims at developing an affordable, ruggedized and low energy consuming VCSL TOF laser sensor for mounting inside small waste bins lids. A Bluetooth gateway installed on the garbage truck register signals from the sensor in the bins when emptied and further sends signals to larger IT systems in the cloud that register filling level. The project involves developing the sensor, the Bluetooth gateway with connected 5G/GPS module and the SW module for communicating with municipalities’ existing IT systems. A realistic sensor price of €30 and the ultimate opportunity of equipping 100 Mn small waste bins in EU with sensors, will form a market opportunity of €3 Bn.