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Trash tech as Sunderland gets smart


Sunderland is introducing a series of tech innovations to the city, starting with solar-powered “smart compactor bins”.

The city council signed a 20 year partnership with BAI Communications last year to grow its smart city infrastructure.

One of the first pilots coming from the partnership were smart bins, which contain a solar-powered ram to compact the waste inside and in doing to store up to 5x more waste than a standard bin.

The sensors constantly report on the quantity of waste inside them, so that the council’s environmental services team can see remotely how often they’re being used and when the best time to empty them is.

“We know that technology has the capability to deliver advancements across health, education and more, including our own council services, enabling us to deliver a continuously improving offer to residents, businesses and visitors to the city,” explained Liz St Louis, Director of Smart Cities at Sunderland City Council.

“In our digitally connected, smart city, it is great to see our ambitious plans coming to fruition. Many pilots, such as the smart bin trial, are helping us to make better, data-informed and more sustainable decisions.”

Andy Wilson, Environmental Services Manager at Sunderland City Council, added:

“The introduction of smart bins and associated technologies has the potential to enhance a modern intelligent waste management system, which in turn can contribute to wider sustainability goals within our low carbon action plan.

“The smart bins don’t need to be emptied as often, which is not only great for the city’s carbon footprint, but also represents considerable fuel savings too with the added benefit that the time saved helps to enable staff to focus on other duties and enhancement work.”

Other future initiatives include water monitoring, smart life buoys, a Wi-Fi messaging platform and interactive play parks.

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