Improving Waste Collection

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Group Design Project
Options to improve the University of Southampton’s waste management and logistics strategy for the Highfield Campus
Group Members
Andre Gordon, Jennifer Hay, Alexander Loris, Katherine Theobald

Dr. Tom Cherrett, Dr. Pete Shaw

Estates and Facilities, University of Southampton

The University of Southampton produces significant volumes of waste that must be managed to minimise risk to persons and the environment. The most significant waste streams are general waste and mixed recycling. This costs the university £205,000 annually to collect and dispose of. The population at the University is set to increase in coming years, so waste management in turn will become more difficult and therefore must be addressed to avoid future issues. Whilst the current system of 20 compounds serviced between 3 and 5 days a week works, it is neither sustainable nor efficient.

Analysis of historical bin weight data showed that the generation of waste is sporadic both spatially and temporally with very few significant trends. Analysis showed that there was no set servicing strategy in terms of servicing time or collection route. These where up to the discretion of the driver. There are further concerns related to the safety of collections with noted cases of reversing procedures without use of a banksman. Finally, there is significant concern for the potential of a collision of a waste vehicle with a pedestrian particularly in highly populated areas.

To address these issues the proposal is to implement a four zone dynamically monitored system. This is estimated to save the university £58,000 a year, equating to approximately one quarter of the current cost. The dynamic monitoring will be conducted by cleaning staff though a smart phone app to log the fill level of the compound. Dynamic monitoring allows collections to be scheduled as and when they are required as opposed to following a fixed schedule and servicing compounds that are not full. This system has the benefit of far shorter collection routes, faster servicing times and more efficient fill levels of bins, an average improvement of 21% for mixed recycling, and the flexibility to manage the sporadic generation witnessed over the last two years. Furthermore, the location of the new zonal compounds are designed to eliminate reversing manoeuvres and highly populated areas.

This would be one of the first cases of a fully dynamic system being implemented within a University setting.

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