A U.S. compactor monitoring company has partnered with a waste and recycling management services provider to deliver more than 200 systems in Canada

The SmartTrash LLC compactor monitoring system, based in Emeryville, Calif., was created by an actual waste management company.

“The technology was developed in-house to optimize the pickups of its own clients’ trash compactors,” says Steven Seltzer, vice president of SmartTrash. “It’s been subsequently modified to allow trash producers and other trash management companies the ability to gain efficiencies, increase control and reduce costs.”

SmartTrash is the marriage of sensor-based and Internet-of-Things technology. It consists of sensors mounted on the compactor that read the data generated by the compactor’s operation. These sensors are then connected to a proprietary SmartTrash “brain” mounted near the compactor that collects and analyzes this data. From here, wireless communication conveys the data for instant processing by the SmartTrash application.

“This application has been invested with the ‘smarts’—hence the product’s name—to determine the optimal time to empty the trash compactor,” says Seltzer.

SmartTrash reads multiple sensors and captures very unique datasets, including how much energy is expended during each compactor cycle, what is the maximum energy recorded during the cycle and how long does the cycle take and how many times is the machine cycled.

These datasets create a unique “fingerprint” for each compactor. The SmartTrash application correlates these datasets with the machine’s fullness. It also integrates the hauler’s requirements into a set of algorithms that determine when to schedule the compactor to be serviced.

“The real benefit to the user? A mobile notification (pickup order) can be automatically sent to the hauler,” says Seltzer. “And to ensure that actions actually occur once the notification goes out, the SmartTrash system also includes a built-in haul sensor that records the exact time the machine is emptied.”

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based RecycleSmart Solutions is using the SmartTrash system to dispatch more than 200 compactors across Canada at a variety of its client locations. The company has installed the monitors on waste, cardboard and mixed recycling compactors.

Founded in 2008, RecycleSmart has grown to become Canada’s largest waste and recycling management company with more than 3,000 smart waste bins and compactors deployed across the country.

The company chose the SmartTrash monitoring system for several reasons. One of those reasons is the ease of install. There’s no need to tap into hydraulic lines, so the install is quick and simple. Another reason is the rich dataset the company gets from the monitors, which helps RecycleSmart optimize compactors in a multitude of ways.

“SmartTrash has been responsive and progressive in adding new features and software development,” says Colin Bell, managing partner for RecycleSmart Solutions.

Since implementation, RecycleSmart has experienced an average cost savings of 30 percent across all 200-plus SmartTrash monitors.

“We’ve seen an overall haul and cost reduction of 30 percent,” says Bell. “In addition, the haul verification has allowed us to confirm that service has occurred when requested and continued optimization has helped us ensure all the compactors we manage are consistently 85 percent full or more on pickup,” says Bell.

According to Seltzer, SmartTrash has three features that make it unique.

“One is the richness of data that is collected both in terms of how many different variables are analyzed and how much data is gathered. The second is its analytical capabilities. And finally, is its ability to learn over time,” he says. “The primary benefit is optimizing compactor pickups—the machine is emptied only when necessary. A secondary benefit is providing information about the compactor’s operation, which allows remote troubleshooting of problems.”

Bell says the technology itself is a gamechanger.

“The new haul sensor technology is a gamechanger and not currently offered by any other compactor monitor provider,” he says. “It gives us to-the-minute confirmation of compactor hauls, which means we can accurately manage our client units and avoid overflowing compactors.”