Insights on waste collection and big data

Major data collection installations in the waste industry are often based on controlling the garbage truck and making this part of the operation more efficient. What the industry is now realising is that there are many other insights from data, which are sometimes even more exciting and have greater potential than the collection logistics themselves.

5 insights on data in the waste industry

The traditional and accepted image of data use in the waste industry is about measuring and retrieving containers at a certain level. That's fine, but at Bintel we see a much broader use of data in the waste industry, data that is more than level measurement and a sensor in the bin. We are seeing several of our customers take their installations from pilot level to larger rollouts. With the increased amount of data we are now collecting, new opportunities are opening up that we want to share.

"At Bintel, we want to create the most value from data, with the least effort for the customer. There are uses for data that today have a much greater impact on CO2 reduction than changing the route of a garbage truck." Tom Johansen, Founder Bintel

Insight no 1

Open source waste data

In one of our installations, we have Sweden's and probably the world's largest set-up of containers for Food waste, a fraction that is often the top priority for waste management companies. This current installation consists of over 400 Recycling room where we know exactly how much Food waste is thrown away. In Bintel's work to understand the industry, we have created various parameters, KPIs, to assess and categorise collection points. One of the KPIs is the sorting rate of Food waste in relation to the amount of Residual waste. With this KPI, we can now rank the 400 environmental sites according to how well they sort. The difference between the different rooms can be as much as several hundred percent. 

Why is this and can you influence these Recycling room? 

With structured before and after measurement, can we examine which interventions are working and which are not?

The game plan is set, it's just a matter of figuring out how to win the match.

Insight no 2

Communication and customer segmentation

How do you communicate to your customers? Do you communicate in the same way to everyone?

An eye-opener for many communicators is the opportunity for customer segmentation that data collection opens up. When we know which waste streams are linked to a collection point, then we know how well people are sorting. Data tells us what the separation of each fraction looks like, and we can use this to focus on areas with poor separation of a particular fraction. 

In this way, you can nuance your communication to the customer, and understand what to tell which customer.

Insight no 3

Understanding what drives costs and environmental impact

What drives costs and environmental impacts for the various stakeholders in a waste collection process? Data can be used to highlight and filter out cost-driving items, and how to influence these to reduce costs. With data, collection points with cost-driving deficiencies can be identified. Examples include: poor sorting resulting in unnecessary Residual waste, collection points with bottle neck creating undercapacity, or geographically challenging collection points. 

Often, data-driven insights can achieve relatively simple savings through structural changes at the cost-driving collection points

Insight no 4

Residual waste can be reduced

From the data, insights can be gained regarding that we can influence the amount of Residual waste, and also how we do it.

Working with 15 different municipal housing companies, for example, we can see which interventions are working and which are not. Bintel has found a method, linked to structural and communicative interventions, that influences the emergence of Residual waste. A method where we, in joint projects with our clients, collaborate across borders.

How do you work with your customers?

Insight No. 5

Creating a learning and proactive organisation

Often we find that the industry acts in a fire-fighting and reactive way. This is a consequence of a lack of resources, but more importantly a lack of data. A connected installation tells you what action is required, and enables the creation of a much more proactive organisation. An organisation that takes the initiative to understand its customers, and acts in a relevant way to reduce residual waste in its area of operation.


With the large amount of data now being collected from the industry, high targets for residual waste reduction and CO2-savings suddenly become reasonable to achieve.

What we want you to take with you is to start with the low-hanging fruit that digitalisation offers. Perhaps the introduction of demand-responsive emptying is not the most impactful for you, right now?

Related customer cases

Here you will find customer cases with similar topics and applications described in the article.

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