Over the last couple of years, waste management grew from a very novel business process reserved only for the business industries whose type dictated more careful waste strategies to an idea that is now, driven by the contemporary sustainability and green initiatives being implemented across the business spectrum.
That leaves the entire waste management industry in a very interesting position where long-term growth seems as good as guaranteed but the heavy competition, as well as increasing workloads, make tapping into this trend increasingly difficult.
Fortunately, the solution to both these challenges can be found in a greater level of automation. Let us take a look then at some of the most important automation technologies in the waste management industry that will allow you to put your company at the top of this booming market.
Automated waste sorting
Waste separation and sorting makes one of the most critical waste management duties. Therefore, it is really no surprise that this process, that at the same time takes most of the time and effort, could also benefit from a greater level of automation the most. Fortunately, lately, the latest-gen AI has become very capable of identifying different types of waste and utilizing synchronized robotics to separate the revolving conveyor belts. From that point on, handling the waste becomes far easier and, since we are working with uniform types of materials opens doors for new ways of automation. The fewer variables we have to work with, the less room there is for mistakes.
IoT sensors and environmental awareness
We would like to point out that the process we have described above wouldn't be possible without the tectonic developments in the IoT (Internet of Things) sector that allow machines to pick up data from their surroundings, freely interact with other devices, engage in independent processing and leave rich pools of data. This tech, however, is not critical only for the process of waste separation. We also get to achieve a greater level of workflow, and efficiency, the workplaces are made safer and more rationalized, and the rich-data chunks set the foundations for more robust analytics and risk management.
Comprehensive and strategic planning
That brings us to the topic of planning that, aside from the actual waste sorting presents one of the greatest challenges of modern waste management. This is yet another instance where automated tech can completely overhaul the outlook of one company. Namely, the latest-gen waste management planning platforms go a long way in optimizing the overall workflow and refining countless critical processes like identifying waste streams, outlining roles and responsibilities, creating shared monitoring processes, and so on. All these perks have a critical impact on the overall efficiency pushing it into some truly exciting new grounds.
Waste management computer vision programs
By computer vision, we think the technology that allows machines to understand the objects they see. Of course, the IoT allows sorting tools to interact with waste in some manner. Up until recently, however, this interaction was usually pulled off with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags that gave the devices some general idea of what they are dealing with. But this method leaves too much room for mistakes and involves a great level of involvement on behalf of human workers. Being able to visually identify the waste materials gives machines a greater level of autonomy and sophistication.
Cleaner and more sustainable industry
When the waste finally ends ups sorted out, the waste management companies need to engage in waste processing which creates a whole new set of problems and operational challenges. The automated tech used for recycling, disposal, and other similar procedures makes this job far simpler. As a result, we get an industry that is not only capable of achieving far better results and thus leaving less waste floating around but does that in a more efficient, tight, and streamlined manner. What's even better, due to digital infrastructure, these tasks can be fitted into the main workflow with far less effort.
Automated transportation and logistics
Last but not least, we would like to cover another important issue that often ends up neglected but still makes a critical part of the waste management industry and that would be transportation and logistics. And much like in the previous topics we have mentioned, automated technology, no matter whether we are talking about route planning, fleet management, or even warehouse management, is capable of pushing the envelope in terms of the results that can be achieved with limited resources. With these resources at our disposal, automated tech is capable of becoming nimbler and more agile.
So, these were the top six examples of automated technologies in the waste management industry and the results they are capable of achieving if utilized properly. And as we can see, this entire sector finds itself on a verge of a comprehensive and tectonic overhaul. This development, however, is all but expected. The arrival of digital technologies and the next wave of digital tech automation changed virtually all industries in existence and completely turned around how we think about business. So, it's really no surprise that this specter came knocking on the waste management doors as well.