Since the introduction of the intelligent bins, known as iBiNs, by GreenPak towards the end of last year, there’s been a notable increase of 51 per cent in the collection of recyclable materials through recycling points when compared to the same period a year ago, said GreenPak CEO, Ing. Mario Schembri.
“These results are well beyond our wildest expectations,” Ing. Schembri said, citing a number of reasons for the marked increase in the use of this public service. “The new and attractively-designed bins have drawn public attention, and the availability of empty space to deposit recyclable waste is another factor for people using the iBiNs more frequently. Moreover, the iBiNs provide a hassle-free 24x7 service. Given people’s different lifestyles, the door-to-door collections of the green and grey recyclable bags do not adequately accommodate everyone’s needs. The iBiNs offer a service that allows the public to recycle waste – anytime, anywhere.”
GreenPak and Vodafone, who joined forces for this initiative, announced last November that 800 iBiNs will replace existing recycling skips in 42 localities by March 2019, with the aim of making recycling simpler and more convenient, and also to do away with the unsightly overflowing of recycling bins.
Ing. Mario Schembri, CEO, GreenPak
The intelligent bins are able to measure their fill-level and transmit the information to a central system using a Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) technology provided by Vodafone Malta. They can also detect abnormal temperatures, and in the case of a fire, a signal is sent to the central system to call for assistance.
“With the help of this technology, GreenPak operates a better public service by emptying the iBiNs according to demand,” said Ing. Schembri. “The project has attracted lots of interest, not least because of the fresh design and uniformity of the bins. A good number of localities have enjoyed the use of iBiNs for many weeks and by the end of March, the project will be nearing completion.”
GreenPak’s CEO said the iBiNs have achieved one of their main aims of making overflowing recycling bins a thing of the past; a sight which has reduced dramatically since their introduction, as bins are now being emptied before they’re completely full.
“Unfortunately, we still experience instances where, despite the iBiN being practically empty, irresponsible persons leave their waste lying outside the bin,” he asserted. “Recently, it was reported that around 1,500 individuals have been reprimanded, and as more legal enforcement comes into force, we expect to see further improvements.”
The launch of the organic waste bins in households by Government last year, which subsequently introduced the separate collection of organic waste, had a knock-on effect on the way people manage their waste, according to Ing. Schembri.
“Apart from having the desired outcome that less organic waste is being landfilled, GreenPak has noticed an increase of 35 per cent in recyclable materials collected through the kerbside green/grey bag collections when compared to the same period 12 months earlier. So yes, people are definitely recycling more.”
The joint project between GreenPak and Vodafone was the first within Malta’s waste management sector to use smart technology, but it won’t be the last. “The iBiN project has been three years in the making and at times very tiring. However, the results have been so encouraging and rewarding, that GreenPak is already working on other projects employing the use of smart technology,” the CEO asserted.
In the coming weeks, an app that’s synched with the iBiNs, which works on smartphones, tablets, portable computers and any mobile device, will be launched to the public after being released on a trial basis in early January to a closed group of around 300 people. “The app automatically detects your current geographical position and gives you feedback on the nearest iBiNs,” said Ing. Schembri.
“On selecting the colour-coded image of the iBiN, the app informs you whether the iBiN has free space to take your recyclables. If the bin is full, the app guides you to the next nearest available iBiN via a Google Map interface. User feedback has been very good and when the app is launched to the general public, we believe that people will find it extremely user-friendly and very useful.”
This article originally appeared in The Malta Business Observer