IoT for recycling efficiency – Northern Trains and Biffa

Biffa NT - Real-time data from bin sensor
In our third year working with a leading waste management company, Biffa, we are thrilled to be installing 277 smart bin sensors across 72 stations and engineering train care centres for Northern Trains.

Designed to monitor the fill levels of recycling bins and apply clever algorithms, these sensors will help increase the accuracy of recycling rates. This vital information allows Northern Trains to reach their goal of recycling 70% of their waste this year, as set by the Department of Transport. This information also allows Northern Trains to monitor and test the impact of various schemes to encourage recycling across their stations.

Biffa NT - Device being fitted by engineers
Northern Trains and Biffa – Waste Management and recycling case study – watch the video here

Installed on the underside of front-end loader and commercial recycling bin lids, these sensors use a time-of-flight sensor that measures from the top of the bin to the base. The volume of waste inside the bin can then be calculated, as well as alerting whether the lid is open or closed, which is particularly important for safety at uncrewed stations.

This information is then relayed back to Northern via the national network of IoT infrastructure (such as LoRaWan or NBIoT networks), which is captured by the cloud and translated into a user-friendly dashboard.

Biffa NT - Bin being emptied by BIffa truck

Kieran Ball, Project Manager for Biffa, commented, "Northern came to us with a challenge about managing bins more effectively, mainly at uncrewed sites. We have a really customer-centric approach to working with others to find solutions. The future of this project is really exciting; it's evolved over three years. We continue to road test and review its potential in helping efficiency and the effectiveness."

Emma Mahy, CEO & Co-founder of IoT Solutions Group, is thrilled to be working with Biffa and Northern Rail and apply our technology to meet their sustainability challenges, "To work with organisations that have that desire to be innovative and actually use technology for good is fantastic. Northern Trains were very keen to use technology in their remit to improve their sustainability. They wanted to improve their levels of recycling and having run two smaller-scale pilots over the last couple of years, we've proven that our bin sensor technology works, and they've been able to gather some really, really valuable data which is showing that they are on the right track."

"We work with customers to provide solutions that deliver real value; we don't just try to shoehorn technology into an organisation but can make changes to the product and software to provide data insights that really make a difference. We're able to do that because all of our products we design ourselves, they are manufactured in the UK, we're proud to own all of the IP, and the software platform is our own, so we have that control and that ability to make changes."

The IoT Solution Groups team is proud to deliver this smart waste management system for such an important challenge and support Northern Trains on their sustainability mission.

Do you have a specific remote monitoring challenge that you are looking to solve in your organisation? If so, our team of IoT experts would love to hear from you!