Vodafone helps Dutch councils slash costs, emissions

An M2M-enabled waste-management scheme involving Vodafone (Newbury, UK) is helping local councils in the Netherlands to slash their carbon emissions by up to a fifth and save thousands of euros in collection costs.

Working with Mic-O-Data (Hassinkweg, the Netherlands), a Dutch waste-management company that claims a 30% share of the market, Vodafone has fitted 6,000 ‘connected’ bins with SIM cards that transmit regular updates, notifying refuse collectors when bins are filling up or if they have not been properly closed.

The new system means that refuse collectors do not have to make unnecessary journeys to check on bins. As well as using less fuel, councils have been able to make do with fewer refuse trucks.

A study by Environmental Resource Management, an independent company, examined the impact of the scheme on one of the 25 local authorities that took part in it.

According to the study, the City Council of Groningen managed to reduce its carbon emissions by 30 tonnes a year, or about 18%, and save approximately €92,000 in fuel and maintenance costs.

“Reducing carbon emissions is a top priority for councils today,” said Tim Blomer, the director of Mic-O-Data, in a statement. “Working with Vodafone has helped us to provide a service that is rapidly becoming a must-have for local authorities in the Netherlands and elsewhere. We are now looking at how we can take advantage of Vodafone’s global network by expanding into international markets. France is a key target market for us as 2015 will see a new law require certain type of refuse to be charged for.”

Marc Sauter, the head of M2M business development for Vodafone Global Enterprise, said: “When Mic-O-Data first came to us, their plan was for refuse collectors to scan individual bins to track how residents were using them. We helped them to take this plan even further and by embedding our M2M SIM into each bin instead staff can now remotely check how full each bin is before going to collect it, and track usage. This is a great example of how our M2M technology not only makes us greener; it can also save a huge amount of time and money.”