Danish Startup Nordsense’s ‘Pod’ Sensor Technology makes City Waste Management Smarter

The garbage in trash cans overflows if not emptied out by the garbage haulers in a timely manner. Garbage haulers have to check every trash bin individually to determine whether it is full or not. A Danish startup, Nordsense has figured out a way to solve this  issue with a device based on laser technology which offers to alert the garbage haulers when the trash cans are about to overflow.

The Danish startup Nordsense’s device, named as Pod, resembles like a black box and monitors the trash content and alerts the garbage haulers at the exact time when the trash bins have to emptied. San Francisco has become the first American city to adopt this new technology.

The Pod sensor device works by scanning the contents of trash inside a trash can from inside of the trash can’s lid or via lidless container or angled brackets. The device emits multiple laser beams on the waste surface and calculates the distance from the lid. This not only enables an extremely accurate measurement of the trash can’s level of trash content but also eliminates false positives when an unusual object lands in container.

The technology was first launched in Copenhagen, Denmark, where it was found that 40% of trash bins are less than 25% full when they’re emptied and 90% of them are aren’t full at all. Without the use of the new technology, it is very inefficient to figure out when trash cans are full, or empty. The device is a good example for technology-based smarter waste management.

Manuel Maestrini, the CEO of Nordsense says that their experience shows that they have achieved a reduction in number of collection visits by garbage hauler by 50%. The potential for adoption in high activity cities like New York and San Francisco is huge as their trash bins have to be emptied more frequently than quieter towns.

A pilot project launched in San Francisco in 2018, found surprising results by virtually eliminating all overflow complaints and led to an 80% reduction in the number of serviced overflowing bins. Illegal dumping reduced by 64% and frequency of street cleaning by 66%. San Francisco is gearing up to install the Nordsense Pods at 1000 out of 3000 total trash cans in the city. The company claims that its device is also being used in cities in Austria, Switzerland and Canada. The company has set European Union and U.S as the focus markets for future installations.

Nordsense started its journey in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2014. With support from Innovation Centre Denmark the company arrived in California’s Silicon Valley in 2015. The startup became part of San Francisco city’s Startup in Residence Program which joins the city government with startups to find innovative solutions to problems in city management.

About the author

Santosh Kumar

Santosh Kumar is a respected voice in the ICT domain. He has authored over 30 studies pertaining to cloud, cybersecurity, AI, and Big Data.

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