SINGAPORE: A smart waste collection system that has been rolled out in Tampines and Pasir Ris is able to send out alerts when they are nearly full, in a move that is expected to improve efficiency in the industry.
It is the first such system in Singapore, and will be rolled out progressively islandwide by public waste collectors when the National Environment Agency (NEA) calls new tenders between next year and 2021.
This means waste collectors will have the option of collecting refuse every two days if the bins are not full, instead of having to do so daily.
The smart system uses sensors to track how much waste is in the compactors in the bin centres.
Once the compactor is three-quarters full, an alert will automatically be sent to the operations team.
Another notification is sent when the compactor is full, at which time a collection crew will pick up the refuse for disposal.
Currently, the system is used only by 800 Super, which is one of four public waste collectors in Singapore.
800 Super has installed sensors at 52 bin centres in Pasir Ris and Tampines since July, and will soon be doing so at 26 more locations in Bedok, after it was awarded an NEA contract earlier this year.
To ensure public hygiene, officers from 800 Super work with town councils to conduct routine checks.
According to the company, the system helps to reduce the number of refuse collection trips.
"In the past, we had to collect the refuse from the compactor every day and sometimes the bins wouldn't even be full," said operation manager Ivan Kwek.
"Now, we collect the refuse every two days, or when it gets full before that," he said.
But when Channel NewsAsia went down to a bin centre in Simei, the residents had mixed reactions.
Mr Andy Chan, 51, said: "There's improvement in this area here. Previously, there was some stench."
But another preferred to have more regular refuse collection.
"For hygiene purposes, I think this should be done every day," said 66-year-old Michael Wee.
In response to queries, NEA said that the new system will not lead to higher domestic refuse collection fees.
Currently, the monthly rubbish collection fee is set at S$8.25 for apartments – including HDB flats and condominiums that have not opted out of the public waste collection scheme – and S$27.47 for landed homes.
The fees are reviewed on a regular basis, and the next review is scheduled for Jan 1 next year.