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Making haste with waste

What’s important to you where you live? Waste is one area that is overlooked all too often, perhaps understandable given what it literally is, but you quickly realise when your city isn’t getting things right

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 In less than a year, 85,000 waste containers will be digitised to better monitor containers for glass
In less than a year, 85,000 waste containers will be digitised to better monitor containers for glass

What’s important to you where you live? For practically all of us it’s affordable housing, efficient transport networks, good schools (if applicable), a healthy cultural life, access to healthcare, and those all important places that sell good coffee. Waste is one area that is overlooked all too often, perhaps understandable given what it literally is, but you quickly realise when your city isn’t getting things right.

 

This week Bratislava announced an ambitious project to digitise and upgrade its waste collection network. In less than a year, 85,000 waste containers will be digitised to better monitor containers for glass and other kinds of waste. Glass is a particularly tricky thing to collect as containers are filled to irregularly. Waste collection vehicles will also be fitted with sensors to verify pick-ups and also optimise route planning.

 

The goal is to save money on waste collection because of more efficient route management, reduce emissions and congestion - the city estimates each emptying of waste takes around seven minutes - and be able to step in early if containers are unexpectedly filled. For citizens, it simply means a cleaner and nicer city to live in.

 

The city has been backed by the European Innovation Council, which is aiming to make cities across the European Union more sustainable and supporting investment in clean technologies. So where Bratislava (and others) lead, others will follow.

 

These perhaps less sexy innovations are ones that are extremely important because they are ones that matter to literally every single citizen.

 

Excitement about autonomous vehicles, blockchain or LPWAN is justified and will transform people’s lives for the better. But to the average citizen, if you asked them if they want bins emptied and a cleaner city or blockchain, they are going to opt for the former. Cities like Bratislava are showing they are focused on what’s important.

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