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Medline Reduces Waste Hauling Costs, Half-Full Pickups with IoT

OnePlusMedline Industries, a health-care product manufacturer, reduced its waste generated — along with its pickups and hauling charges — after implementing an Internet of Things product from One Plus that allowed the manufacturer to accurately monitor the fullness level of its waste bins.

After installing OnePlus’ Waste Edge, which measures the fullness of a waste compactor container and automatically notifies the hauler to pick up a full container, Medline saw a 46 percent reduction in pickups, translating into a $27,000 annual reduction in hauling charges for one compactor alone.

A case study by the city of Chicago’s IoT Council details the partnership.

Based in Mundelein, Illinois, Medline is the largest privately held manufacturer and distributor of health care supplies and services in the US. The company has six manufacturing facilities in North America and more than 25 joint venture manufacturing plants worldwide.

The company manufactures hundreds of thousands of products, ranging from medical-surgical items to textiles. Because it has such a high volume of production and distribution, it also generates a significant amount of waste. This means high disposal costs, especially if haulers are picking up half-full containers, leading to a increased pickups.

OnePlus is an Illinois-based manufacturer of container fullness and control systems. Its other corporate customers include Coca-Cola, General Electric, IBM, Procter & Gamble and Toyota, according to the company website.

Its Waste Edge product reduces the cost of waste removal through a two-step process. First, it uses real-time data to accurately measures the fullness of the waste compactor container. Then it automatically notifies the hauler to pick up a full container.

Before Waste Edge, hauler billing showed Medline’s container weights ranged from 3.5 to 8 tons. After installing the product, and relying on it to notify haulers when full, the pickup weights increased to around 10 tons, the case study says. After successfully reducing its waste hauling fees with one Waste Edge system, Medline added two more monitors at the same site and are plans to add them at other sites as well.

As Environmental Leader has previously reported, the digitalization of the waste and recycling industry gives hauling companies and their customers more — and better — data to improve their operations and achieve waste management and other environmental goals.

To this end, cities including Santa Fe and Atlanta have recently signed contracts with smart-waste startup Rubicon Global to improve their waste management services. In addition to its large corporate customers like 7-Eleven, the Salvation Army and Lumber Liquidators, Rubicon in recent months has signed about 50 small business customers in the Chicago area, ChicagoInno reports.

Corporations are also employing IoT products and software uses big data to better manage food waste and report on their sustainability efforts.

While smart waste and recycling technologies haven’t been as quick to take off as, say, smart building products designed to improve energy efficiency, the sector is poised for growth. According to Navigant Research, the smart waste collection technology market will grow from $57.6 million in 2016 to over $223.6 million in 2025, representing a compound annual growth rate of 16.3 percent.

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