BI Case Study

Urban Waste Management Improves Its Age Old Service Using Big Data

26 February, 2015

Urban Waste Management Improves Its Age Old Service Using Big Data

The Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (GMWDA), England’s largest Waste Disposal Authority, has collaborated with the University of Manchester to enhance the area’s environment by creating more sustainable solutions for the 1.1 million tons of waste produced there each year.

Like many other cities around the world, Manchester is looking to big data to help citizens better understand the importance of reducing waste. They are implementing government programs aimed to offer incentive to people who reduce waste or improve their waste management methods.

Following suit is Songdo, a futuristic “smart city” in South Korea, whose citizens use chip cards when disposing their garbage. The use of these cards enables Songdo’s government to essentially measure how much waste is disposed of, as well as the time and location of the disposal. This provides data helpful for predicting the ideal moment for emptying containers as well as optimizing garbage collection routes.

Furthermore, researchers at the University of Stockholm are combining geographic and socioeconomic data to see where waste is spatially distributed and identify ways to better manage waste for the city. Using roughly half a million entries of waste fractions, locations and weights, these researchers were able to devise waste generation maps, which highlighted many areas for improvement.

Collecting trash may not seem like the most profound thing, but keeping it efficient is one of the most effective ways to improve our environment. Scientists expect that as the amount of data in this field gets bigger, the world’s carbon footprint will get considerably smaller.

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