Waterford City and County Council's Environment Department has this week launched an innovative Bring Banks sensors project, aimed at tackling litter build up around bring banks that may be full.
Sensors to monitor the levels of glass within bring banks have been installed at 70 locations around the city and county.
Information from the sensors, available via a smartphone map on the Council's website, will allow members of the public to check capacity of the different types of glass and avoid a wasted trip, or plan to visit an alternative bring centre. The project will also reduce the amount of fuel required for the Council’s glass collection contractors to empty the bottle banks.
Funding of €45,000 for this project was provided by The Public Service Innovation Fund run by Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) following a successful application earlier in the year. This is a competitive fund that aims to support innovative ideas from across public service organisations and turn them into a reality. Projects must have a strong focus on outcomes and impact with additional focus on scalability, transferability and learning within the public sector.
Senior Executive Engineer with Waterford Council’s Environment Section, Niall Kane, spoke at the launch of the project this week, saying, “The funding for this project from The Public Service Innovation Fund is integral in the roll out one of the country’s first smart bring bank projects. The installation of these sensors is a very positive climate action and will result in less journeys by customers and less overheads on the collection contractors. Not only that, but we are providing live information through a person’s smartphone too, as the sensors provide information on what colour of glass is filling up, where the capacity is in the network and where the next nearest bank might be.”
Galway based firm Magnus Monitors were chosen as partners for the project and have installed some 141 monitors at 70 bring banks across the city and county. The type of equipment installed is a highly accurate level monitor that can remotely monitor bottle banks of up to 4m in height. Their battery-driven solution is low powered when compared to other mains wired solutions and lasts for up to 5 years.
Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. John O’Leary said, “We were delighted to receive funding for this important project. Recycling glass benefits businesses as well as the environment as it reduces their carbon footprint and saves money by lowering emissions, the consumption of raw materials and the use of facilities. If you have ever arrived at your local bottle bank and found it overflowing, now we can help alleviate that. We’re encouraging citizens to scan the QR code at their bottle bank or check on your smartphone and head to a bring bank with capacity nearby.”
To mark the launch of the monitors, two exciting competitions are planned on local radio and on social media, with daily prizes of commissioned recycled glasswork by An Rinn-based craftsman Eamonn Terry of Criostal na Rinne and Sean Egan of Sean Egan Art Glass, based in Waterford’s Bishop’s Palace.
For more information on the project, and to check the capacity levels at your local bring centre, see www.waterfordcouncil.ie/bringbanks