Enevo and Rotterdam Cooperates to Transition to Smart Waste Management

In 2016, Rotterdam extended a Paper and Cardboard Waste project with Enevo, leading innovator in smart waste-management. This project sought to increase monitoring of waste containers and use of Enevo Smart-Plan software for optimised waste collection route-planning in Rotterdam.

This video provides an introduction to the project!

 

The multi-storey, residential apartments in Rotterdam utilises a central waste collection system. This places the onus of ensuring that the underground containers are emptied reliably on the municipality of Rotterdam. To encourage recycling, waste collection needs to be made convenient for citizens, necessitating an optimal number and placement of receptacles along with scheduled collections to ensure space in the recycling containers.

I found the use of Geel’s (2004) framework for transitions in socio-technical regimes and Van de Poel’s (2000) framework for examining external pressure, useful in crystallising Rotterdam’s transition to a smart waste-management system.

Geel (2004) identified three dimensions of socio-technical regimes: regulative, normative, and cognitive. I identified the existing mechanisms under each heading for Rotterdam’s case-study here:

  • Regulative – previous waste management system implemented by the government
  • Normative – the lifestyles, habits and technical systems that people are used to
  • Cognitive – core competencies of waste-management operators that turn into rigidities when operators are resistant to change

Regime transformation entails change in existing norms, regulations and beliefs that fall into these three categories (Geel, 2006).

External pressure from outsiders (definition: actors excluded from the community) are highly influential in these transitions (Van de Poel, 2000). In the case of Rotterdam, they fall into the Van de Poel’s (2000) categories of: (1) professional engineers who impart knowledge and design concepts, and (2) firms and entrepreneurs that develop technological novelties to match these concepts.

  1. Professional engineers introduce big data, analytics, and Internet of Things (IoT) technology to aid Rotterdam’s government in uncovering more efficient waste management and recycling practices
  2. Firm and entrepreneurs – Enevo and its smart waste-management solution for Rotterdam (illustrated below)
Enevo's Smart Waste Management Solution
Key aspects of Enevo’s smart waste management solution

 

:)
Fill-level data collection, forecasting (with data analytics), cloud data sharing and efficient daily route planning

 

Driver route guidance via in-vehicle tablet
Driver route guidance via in-vehicle tablet

I hope the two frameworks were fruitful ways to explicate the mechanisms behind the cooperation between Rotterdam and Enevo!

I personally find that they are useful ways for understanding how rigidities and resistance to change stymie green transformations in the city. While technological solutions may be foreign and unfamiliar, they provide a propitious means to enhance the efficiency of urban metabolic flows of waste and recyclables. Using bodily metabolic processes that sustain human life to understand flows of waste underlying the everyday functioning of cities (Marvin and Medd, 2006), perhaps it is useful to think metaphorically of Enevo’s smart-plan software as akin to a pacemaker sending electric pulses to the human heart. I guess humans, and the cities we build alike, just need a little technological oomph sometimes.

 

For a more detailed understanding of the 2 models:

Geels, F. (2004) ‘From sectoral systems of innovation to sociotechnical systems: insights about dynamics and change from sociology and institutional theory’, Research Policy, Vol. 33, No. 6, 897 – 920.

Van de Poel, I. (2000) ‘On the role of outsiders in technical development’, Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, Vol. 12, No. 3, 383 – 397.

Other resources that helped me:

Geels, F. (2006) ‘The hygienic transition from cesspools to sewer systems (1840-1930): The dynamics of regime transformation’, Research Policy, Vol. 35, 1069 – 1082.

Marvin, S. and Medd, W. (2006) “Metabolisms of Obecity: Flows of Fat through Bodies, Cities and Sewers”, Environment and Planning A, Vol. 38, Issue 2, 137 – 149.

You can also read more about this project here: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/05/prweb13422549.htm

(433 words)

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2 thoughts on “Enevo and Rotterdam Cooperates to Transition to Smart Waste Management”

  1. Hi Beatriz,

    I think nobody can deny the important role of technological networks in our move towards a more sustainable future. Indeed, such networks have enabled the transformation of our sanitary cities to more sustainable ones and are widely adopted in many cities.

    It is important also though, that we do not see technological networks as the be-all in our transformation towards a sustainable future because I think non-technical aspects are important as well (e.g. resident’s perception and outreach effort etc). I feel it is really the close interaction between these technical and non-technical aspects that enables our move towards sustainability possible.

    Really like your pacemaker analogy – I think we can also view it metaphorically as White Blood Cells knowing which areas of the body it needs to go to to get rid of the foreign invaders in our body? (: haha

    Like

  2. Hey Beatriz!

    It’s really becoming quite a thing for urban authorities to use technologies to track and measure the waste generated by their cities as part of their waste management strategy, isn’t it? I understand that Singapore (@yimingang can probably comment more on this) is looking into ‘smarter’ ways to do this as part of their smart city strategy, and KL’s also starting to consider this as well.

    Your post reminded me that it’s also important for this process to be visible to individuals as the waste generators themselves. This awareness cannot just be restricted to the urban scale, held only by the small group managing such flows. This really formed the rationale for KL to implement mandatory waste sorting at the household level (http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/waste-segregation-start-small-environmentalists-urge-the-government#c3GHBeFF8tpeOled.97). Waste management is really a prickly, multi-scalar endeavour!

    Like

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