Reducing garbage thanks to technology: The example of Beaconsfield

Case study

Reducing garbage thanks to technology: The example of Beaconsfield

How about a new type of garbage collection? Since the City of Beaconsfield decided to overhaul its garbage collection system, it has successfully reduced curbside garbage by half. Is this an inspiration for the recyclable materials collection of tomorrow?

Garbage bins picked up by the trucks are equipped with an RFID transponder, a chip that records information every time the bin is emptied. Implemented in 2016, this system applies payment based on the total quantity of garbage generated annually. This means that costs vary according to the number of times a bin is picked up. In addition to gaining more awareness regarding waste reduction, residents are encouraged to better sort what they want to throw out and recognize the impact their waste has.

The concept of smart tariff as seen in other contexts has been applied here with great success. According to the City of Beaconsfield, their overall garbage collection has been cut 49%. The average citizen has cut down their annual garbage from 370 kg in 2013 to 183 kg in 2018, contributing to reducing GHGs produced by landfilling the garbage.

Smart collection bins mean that everybody saves: residents reduce their garbage, and the City collects less and reduces its carbon footprint (less trucks, less gasoline, etc.). And thanks to the budget surplus, the city can invest in order to optimize other types of collections.

Finally, the system fosters citizens helping each other. In the summer, some neighbours share their bin as the tariff is based on the number of collections, not on the weight, so putting the bin out less often means more savings!

Could the same principle be applied to recycling bins? A good question, certainly, but more analyses will be needed to determine whether that approach would generate similar benefits for curbside recycling.

Want to find out more about efforts regarding the modernization of curbside recycling? Visit this page!