As a historic suburb of Boston, the City of Newton has thirteen village centers, numerous parks and schools that are densely populated with high volumes of pedestrian traffic. This previously led to visible waste, litter, and windblown trash in otherwise pristine public spaces. For years, citizens and businesses complained of overflowing waste containers in the City’s busy village centers. Well known for its green spaces and picturesque neighborhoods, Newton sought a solution that would keep their community cleaner and enable an effective public space recycling program to reduce the City’s environmental impact.
Newton’s City officials partnered with Bigbelly to architect a city-wide public space smart waste and recycling solution. After a careful assessment of the City’s operations, a deployment of 340 Bigbelly smart high and standard capacity units were installed across 170 locations to provide recycling at every collection point, reduce collections by 88%, and increase the quality of life for citizens by creating cleaner and greener public spaces.
"Nothing is less appealing than seeing overflowing trash cans in a heavily used park or while strolling through a village. Therefore, we have just completed the deployment of 170 Bigbelly smart, street-tough, solar-powered stations, many with compactors to enable the City to improve waste and recycling management volume, collection, and efficiency by delivering real-time data to a web-based dashboard."
- Setti Warren, Former Mayor of the City of Newton (2010-2017) during 2016 Budget Speech
CHALLENGES & MOTIVATIONS
For years the citizens and business owners in Newton complained about overflowing waste containers in the City’s busy village centers. In defense of waste overflows, the City continuously installed standard waste bins to a point of oversaturation and crews were instructed to collect each bin at least 6 times per week - accumulating to nearly 120,000 collections per year. In addition to realizing the need for a smarter solution, Newton was highly motivated to implement an effective and uniform city-wide public recycling program to reduce the City’s environmental impact.
In 2015, Newton’s City officials partnered with the Bigbelly team to carefully assess the existing public waste and recycling bin footprint in addition to waste operations to determine a right-sized Bigbelly smart waste and recycling deployment. Together, stakeholders visited all of the village centers, parks, and schools to collect operational and area insights such as pedestrian traffic, volume of waste and recycling, and collection frequency.
As a result of the assessment, the City installed 170 Bigbelly double stations to replace their 400+ traditional waste bins and add recycling at each location. The architected deployment includes a mix of Bigbelly’s high and standard capacity units to match the different waste volumes across each areas of the city – high capacity units in the busy village centers and select parks, and standard capacity units in lower-traffic areas such as outlying parks and schools. The Park and Recreations Department keeps a real-time pulse on integrated and connected fleet in CLEAN and is notified via web, email, or the mobile app when units are ready for collection.
Citizens and businesses of Newton welcomed the City’s new smart waste and recycling deployment. Increased capacity and total waste containment diminished overflows, windblown trash, and littering. Constituents now live, work, and play in a beautified community with less noise and congestion as it relates to public garbage collections.
Leveraging CLEAN’s notifications, City staff have reduced public space waste collections by 88% (from 24 times per month to 2.7 per month) by collecting only when the stations are full. These notifications coupled with the stations’ enclosed design has also dramatically reduced the amount of time that City staff must dedicate to litter cleanup. This time savings has been reallocated to allow for other community beautification projects to be completed.
As a City dedicated to implementing smart technologies that streamline and improve core city services, Newton has worked diligently to get the most value out of their Bigbelly system. Newton uses the Bigbelly system in the most optimized way by collecting stations only when CLEAN notifies that it is ready to be collected. Each morning, a collection list is populated by City staff which outlines what units need to be collected. This optimized public space waste management routine saves the city over 102,000 collections annually.
Newton’s Bigbelly deployment successfully enabled citywide public recycling with a measureable diversion rate of 30% in 2017. Making recycling available at every waste disposal point enabled 194,535 tons of recyclable waste to be diverted from landfills that year. Moreover, the City has reduced its overall carbon footprint thanks to the dramatic reduction in truck rolls required for daily collection operations.
The City of Newton, Massachusetts is a vibrant and historic suburb of Boston. Frequently voted as one of the top 10 best communities to live in, Newton boasts high quality education, humming community life, exceptional architecture and beautiful open park spaces. The City has a population of over 80,000 residents which live throughout its 13 unique villages.