1) Solid Waste Management
Nowadays, Solid Waste Management (SWM) is one of the hot topic around the world due to its environmental and financial adverse results. SWM concerns a lot of different stakeholders like global organizations, governments, municipalities, private companies and local citizens. Unless managed in a steady and strategic manner, the solid wastes may affect a government’s economic status by increasing waste management related costs like waste collection expenses and the overall satisfaction of the local citizens by causing environmental issues such as uncollected solid wastes.
Waste generation rates are increasing around the world. According to World Bank statistics*, in 2012, the world’s cities generated 1.3 billion tonnes of solid waste per year, amounting to a footprint of 1.2 kilograms per person per day. With rapid population growth and urbanization, municipal waste generation is expected to rise to 2.2 billion tonnes by 2025. Increasing of solid waste may create new problems to the system. Amount of municipal waste also differs country by country. As it can be seen from the graph** below which shows municipal waste generated by country in 2005 and 2015, for 2015, municipal waste generation totals vary considerably, ranging from 789 kg per capita in Denmark to 247 kg per capita in Romania. The variations reflect differences in consumption patterns and economic wealth, but also depend on how municipal waste is collected and managed. There are differences between countries regarding the degree to which waste from commerce, trade and administration is collected and managed together with waste from households.
European Union (EU) also concerns about SWM and has waste management policies in order to turn Europe into a recycling society, avoid waste and use unavoidable waste as a resource wherever possible. Proper waste management is a key part of ensuring resource efficiency and the sustainable growth of European economies. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates all waste material and produces a report called Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: Facts and Figures and the name of the report has changed to Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: Facts and Figures as emphasizing the importance of Sustainable Materials Management (SMM). SMM refers to the use and reuse of materials in the most productive and sustainable ways across their entire life cycle.
Solid wastes can be classified as both industrial and household wastes. However, for both kinds, the use of technology remains a must in order to create an effective management mechanism. One and the most efficient technology responding to this problem is of course the Smart Waste Management Systems. These systems are supported by the European Union for creating smart cities guaranteeing a greener future, while overcoming waste related problems.
2) Solid Waste Collection / Logistics
The essential elements of any SWM system consists of waste collection, storage and transportation. In general, when SWM systems are considered globally, waste collection and transportation are carried out by local bodies such as municipalities and governments. As it can be seen from the following figure showing estimated solid waste management costs with respect to their GNI (gross national capita) per capita, they spend too much money on those operations, which comprise 25% to 50% of their municipal budgets, since they are not aware of efficient, sustainable and integrated systems for this part of SWM service.
To illustrate, on aggregate, the total money spent on the waste management processes (collection, extrication, recycling) in all over the world is estimated as 1 billion dollar, each year by World Bank. Nearly half of which is reserved to the logistics consisting of the collection and transportation of wastes. 70% of this amount is spent on collection and 20% of which is spent on transportation.***
In Turkey, according to Turkish Statistics Institution, there are 30 million tons of waste collected per year which results in 4,2 billion TL of total money spent on the waste management. Approximately, the amount of money that is reserved to logistics operations is estimated as 2 billion TL, 95% of which is allocated for private waste collection companies working for municipalities.
The following figure retrieved from shows the total amount of waste produced and how they are treated in EU-27 Member States -Croatia, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey- between 2000 and 2010. As it can be seen, this amount is around 300 million tonnes per year, which means each year approximately 300 million tonnes of waste should be collected and transported in EU-27 members. Although these wastes are treated in some way, it remains a necessity for the municipalities to find efficient and effective ways for the logistics activities of SWM because of the fact that half of the waste management budget on all over the world goes to logistics activities.
Apart from the cost related issues in logistics of SWM, there are also environmental concerns on waste collection and transportation processes. According to United Nations Report on Municipal Waste Management, the solid waste sector is one of the significant contributors to Greenhouse Gas Emissions by accounted for approximately 5% of the global greenhouse budget with total emissions of approximately 1,300 metric tonnes of CO2. This fact actually stated and reported in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change by also claiming that traditional waste management practices offer a decent GHG emission mitigation potential. Although it is very of then the case that local authorities responsible with SWM practices gives lower importance on GHG emissions problem, it is very important to develop new imperatives giving an emphasis on investments in innovative waste management practices as there exists a new trend of the emergence of new, changing and innovative business models.
3) Solutions / Good Examples / Suggestions
As it discussed, SWM is gaining importance and stakeholders (municipalities, private companies etc.) developed different strategies to deal with the problems and improve the process of SWM. For example, Charlotte, North Carolina, municipality solid waste management system switched from manual, backdoor waste collection to curbside collection using automated collection vehicles.Using specialized software to assist with routing, Charlotte was able to reduce the number of routes needed by more than 30 percent. As a result of these changes, the city saved over $800,000 per year and achieved a 95 percent approval rating from customers.****
Rapid progress of technology also affects solid waste management systems and innovative solutions appear from different parts of the world. Technology companies and governmental organizations collaborate in order to create opportunities for better, cleaner and more efficient systems in solid waste management. International organizations as well as governments and municipalities set goals for waste management activities. For example, in 2015, the European Commission proposed new targets for municipal waste of 60 % recycling and preparing for reuse by 2025 and 65 % by 2030*****. In addition to that, the 7th Environment Action Programme sets the following priority objectives for waste policy in the EU:
As suggested in United Nations Report on Municipal Waste Management****** published after 2010, there exists numerous strategies and corresponding policy options that local authorities may consider so as to improve their SWM practices, which will in return contribute to the improvements in the living conditions of the public.
Strategy 1: Develop meaningful partnerships with private sector, informal workers and communities for effective implementation of ISWM and 3Rs
Strategy 2: Reduce municipal solid waste and aim for Zero Waste
Strategy 3: Increase reuse and recycle of “resources”
Strategy 4: Effectively manage specific types of waste streams such as organic waste, e-waste, construction waste and end-of-life vehicles
Strategy 5: Explore risks and opportunities due to climate change and the Clean Development Mechanism
By taking those strategies and policies into account, nowadays, most of the municipalities in different countries are looking for new solutions related to their SWM practices, such as outsourcing their waste management services by privatization, initial streamlining of solid wastes, encouraging the public to be aware of recovery and recycling activities, or policies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Some of those practices and their impacts stated in United Nations Report on Municipal Waste Management are listed below.
4) Solutions of Evreka
In the 2000s, we see the emergence of cleantech companies, like Evreka. In principle, they all have for goal providing a decrease in waste collection related costs and a decline in CO2 emission. These companies’ technology is a complementary for the CO2 emission solutions. However, there are still some differences in the way these companies’ technology operates.
We may now see how Evreka's technology interferes in the major problem of waste collection strategies which might have financial and environmental side effects.:
Evreka wireless sensors can measure the garbage bin fill level and temperature instantaneously and send this information to cloud using m2m technology. These collected information from all over the city is processed to get the efficient daily collection routes. These daily routes are transferred to the navigation devices easily used by drivers. By this way, drivers follow the efficient routes and stop for only necessary locations. Optimized routes can be reached and evaluated on both desktop and mobile devices 24/7. Detailed analysis reports including overall service information, cost reduction improvement and decrease in emission of harmful gasses are provided within specific time intervals.
Evreka’s ultimate goal with this system is to provide as acquirements to the user the minimization of the costs by eliminating the excess number of garbage vehicles used; thus, realisation of more efficient works with fewer vehicles; reducing the cost of excess fuel usage which is a result of decreasing the travelled distance by the Driver thanks to the usage of optimised daily collection routes; the follow-up of the whole district’s system from only one center 7/24; and the reduction of the carbon dioxide emission and footprint. In addition to all of these benefits, the complaints of the citizens will be minimized to its max and their satisfaction level augments drastically.
Even though, we may find some similarities in cleantech companies’ technology, there are major differences which render the Evreka’s technology more advantageous. Here are some points:
5) Case Studies of Evreka