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Smart bins a new step in technology journey

Thursday 6 June 2019

Albury is getting smarter by the day as we embrace the technological revolution that’s changing the way every-day services are provided to our community.

The latest step forward in our quest to be a leader in the smart communities field is the commissioning of our new solar-powered compactor waste bins near the barbecue shelter at Noreuil Park.

A first for Albury, the dual ‘BigBelly’ bins use the sun’s energy to charge a 12-volt battery that powers a compaction unit inside the bins. Sensors on either side of the unit determine when the bins are full, triggering a compaction mechanism that compresses the waste into compact blocks.

And the smart technology doesn’t end there. When the bins are 80 per cent full, the station sends a text or email to our collection teams, advising them that the compressed contents are almost ready to be removed. This means we can reduce the amount of time we spend on checking and emptying the contents, especially during busy times at the park.

Not only do these bins collect five to six times the amount of waste of a normal bin, they also keep rubbish securely contained – eliminating the risk of the bins overflowing or being raided by pests.

The purchase of the compressor bins is part of an initiative by AlburyCity to improve waste collection and recycling in our public places. Along with the BigBelly units, we’ve also installed 15 new recycling bins at Noreuil Park, ensuring a cleaner, greener park and maintaining our position as leaders in waste reduction and recycling.

However, the compaction bins are just the latest in a series of smart additions to our public places.

As part of our partnership with Wodonga Council under the Two Cities One Community initiative, 56 sensors have been installed at key attractions and locations across both cities to tell us how many people are using public facilities, and when they’re using them.

Some of the locations for these sensors include the Oddies Creek playground, the walking trail on Gateway Island and the East Albury and Logan Road dog parks.

The sensors do not provide any personal information about users of the facilities but they do tell us which areas are most popular, helping us to plan maintenance and improvements based on solid data about the use of these sites.

For example, we now know that more than 40,000 people have entered the Oddies Creek playground in just six weeks – and that’s only counting people who entered through the main gate. This confirms the popularity of the playground with local families, meaning we can use this knowledge to plan for the future of this facility and others like it.

Similarly, the sensors at the dog parks provide a picture of when the parks are most used which help us to make better informed decisions about management and upkeep of the sites.

These are just some of the steps on an exciting journey we’re taking into the future along with our partners in Wodonga. We look forward to the community joining us on that journey as 21st Century technology paves the way for new knowledge and improvements that will help us all to create an even better city for the generations to come.