Waste is a byproduct of human existence. Waste behavior is a huge indicator of what we buy, what we use, where we go, and how we live. In the pandemic, we’re paying extra close attention to our proprietary smart waste data to learn more about the experience.
As the city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne transitions and adjusts its regulations, we’re analyzing their waste data to understand the effects of the virus, giving us a benchmark to monitor the transition as new regulations and adjustments are put into effect.
Newcastle has 1200 Enevo smart waste sensors throughout the city to monitor public and pedestrian waste containers and adjust services accordingly. Here’s what their waste data told us:
Initially, collections were reduced from about 100 bins a day to just 24 during the lockdown period for the City Centre. Waste data insight and informed strategies have been a tremendous help to essential waste workers. Enevo technology allows them to service only the containers in need, minimising their time on the road and open to exposure while maintaining sanitary standards.
“The Enevo system has continued allowing us to target resources effectively during the Covid 19 crisis,” says Business Development Manager Preston West. “Data shows a 76% fall in City Centre bins and 13% fall in city-wide bins requiring emptying which allows staff to carry out other duties rather than attend bins that don’t need emptying.”
This reduction in waste activity throughout the city is direct evidence that Newcastle’s citizens and businesses are adhering to quarantine regulations, but there are citizens out and about. We can assume that it’s likely mostly essential workers
What’s most interesting is how Newcastle is differing from itself. The City Centre has experienced a steep decrease in waste production. The outskirts demonstrated an initial decrease in waste, but then a slow and steady increase.
We’re fascinated by this differing behavior within the same city. This data is representative of the housing distribution throughout the city. The City Centre is mostly made up of shops and restaurants, with more residences along the outskirts.
With regulations in place and shops and restaurants closed, the City Centre hasn’t attracted much foot traffic, thus, less waste. Outskirt data shows an initial decrease in public waste production as shelter-in-place orders were placed, then a slow increase as the weather warmed and restrictions eased. Regulations began to ease to allow for daily outside time, and it seems as though citizens have utilized that time.
While the waste reduction isn’t as extreme in the outskirts, the drastic waste decrease in the City Centre emphasizes the impact on Newcastle’s local businesses. As the city employs new safety measures (i.e. one-way walking routes, two-metre pavement markings, along with bench, street furniture, and on-street parking removal, etc.), we will continue to monitor waste behavior for an indicator how foot traffic picks up and the resulting effects on restaurants and shops.
Newcastle data has demonstrated the value of having a sensor in every container. Trends can (and do) differ within a city’s limits, giving crucial insight into community behavior. Enevo smart waste sensor and softwares monitor waste behavior to create custom waste services, matching routes and collection schedules to actual waste production. These waste insight and strategies have allowed city waste services to adjust accurately and efficiently, keeping costs low and essential workers protected, sending them only to sites that need attention.
Operations Manager Steve Scott said “The system has allowed us to provide a much better service for residents, reduce carbon emissions, and avoid wasted journeys. Our staff also prefer the new way of working.”
As we begin to transition into the “new normal,” sensor data will adjust waste services again to match new waste trends — wherever they pop up.
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