Waste Management in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Managing waste is a complicated process that involves daily pickup schedules, trucking logistics, and sorting facilities. Waste management companies must deal with millions of tons of garbage every year. As this number increases, simple solutions are no longer sustainable. This increasing complexity requires new solutions. Embracing artificial intelligence technology will help improve the efficiency and accuracy of the waste disposal process.

What is artificial intelligence?

Past generations of computers were tools that performed as programmed. The abilities of their programmers limited their calculations.

AI is the next step in computer science, where programmers design systems to mimic human problem-solving. Computers can quickly sift through a large amount of data, spotting trends and seeing patterns faster than their human counterparts.

What is machine learning?

Machine learning is a field within AI technology. It involves the code, algorithms, and data that allow a computer to learn patterns and make predictions. An AI-empowered device is only intelligent because of the learning tools that undergird its programming.

AI and Waste Management

What is machine learning in the context of waste disposal and management? Almost any multi-step process will benefit from AI-empowered analysis. Computers can help determine the most efficient route and schedule for local garbage pickup. By shaving time off of this process, municipal companies can reduce fuel costs over the long term.

AI also plays a role in the growing Internet of Things. In some communities, intelligent bins communicate their status to the waste company. This information feeds into the scheduling software to prevent unnecessary pickups and receptacles overflowing with trash.

In a hazardous waste facility, AI is especially helpful in maintaining safe operations. Staff members and the local community are safer when an intelligent system constantly monitors operating conditions.

AI can assist recycling centers in deploying automated waste services that sort objects faster than human employees. An AI-empowered sorter can quickly separate items by material, given large sample size. This process speeds up the operation and provides higher-quality waste streams. It also benefits human employees by minimizing the number of decisions they must make.

AI-Empowered Storm Solutions

Extreme weather events are becoming more common as the climate changes. These unexpected conditions affect how municipalities handle waste, and AI offers intelligent stormwater management solutions to minimize disruptions. As a region returns to regular, intelligent navigation systems will prevent garbage trucks from heading down streets with downed trees or power lines.

In a powerful storm, every hazardous waste facility becomes a concern. Wind and water damage may result in the release of toxic chemicals. The AI system can run automated protocols the protect the facility during an evacuation.

The stormwater collection system will also benefit from AI support. In heavy storms, stormwater drains collect more than water. The powerful current will also carry trash and other debris. A smart system can report blocked filters that could lead to local flooding. Regular alerts will ensure that employees are handling the most pressing issues in a stormwater emergency.

Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and SCADA

Supervisory control and data acquisition systems are a natural fit for AI technology. Computers require a large data sample to learn patterns, and SCADA sensors supply a constant stream of real-time information about performance and conditions. Supported by this knowledge, an AI program will quickly understand the baseline operating standards for any system. Then, it can develop solutions to improve real-world efficiency.

Many industries use SCADA technology to support intentional maintenance plans. Every piece of machinery will wear down over time. Tracking the performance of the equipment will help the computer program establish priorities that will keep things running smoothly. Scheduled maintenance is easier to work around than unexpected breakdowns.

A combination of AI and SCADA in the waste disposal industry will help municipal companies streamline their operations through increased efficiency and automated waste services. Lower operating costs benefit residential customers along with the disposal company.

Implementing a Cloud-Based SCADA System

Municipal water systems are another area that will benefit from SCADA and AI. Data analysis can help prevent shutdowns, predict water main breaks, and minimize water lost to leakage. High Tide Technologies focuses on cloud-based SCADA systems that offer the flexibility of remote access.
Connecting through the cloud allows managers and employees to access real-time performance data on any device from any location. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of a cloud-based SCADA solution.