On the western shore of the Puget Sound in Washington, Kitsap Transit manages a 1,211 stop public transportation system. The nearly 4 million annual bus, van, and ferry rides transport riders and their waste up to 80 miles within the county across from Seattle. Central bus stops consistently experienced overflowing waste in their traditional bins and critter access to trash as a food source, while the outlying and remote bus stops often had trash bins collected when only partially filled since a crew made the long trip to collect it. Both of these lead to time-consuming waste collection, be it for litter cleanup or travel.
After a successful trial, Kitsap Transit deployed the Bigbelly smart waste system across the outlying stops and hotspots. A mix of smart and sensing high and standard capacity units led to 60% reduced collections (from 3x to 1.2x per week) on average plus significant operational productivity gains and fuel savings. Bigbelly proved to be a smarter solution to manage waste by keeping the transit stops clean and tidy, reallocating resources, and decreasing overall environmental impact.
"The Bigbelly system has brought increased efficiency to Kitsap Transit. No longer do crews go out and check collection points regardless of fullness; we only collect when CLEAN tells us the stations are full."
- Gordon Borgeson, Facilities Supervisor, Kitsap Transit, Washington
CHALLENGES & MOTIVATIONS
Prior to Bigbelly, the large ridership area made waste and recycling collection a time-consuming task but the high volume of riders meant workers had to check bins several times a week. Despite these efforts, overflows occurred at heavily used transit spots. The operation resulted in customer complaints, an inflated carbon footprint, and an inefficient use of labor. Kitsap Transit decided it needed a smarter solution.
Kitsap County stakeholders learned about the Bigbelly system at a waste and recycling equipment trade show in 2010. In addition, Kitsap County Parks and Recreation also deployed Bigbelly in nearby public spaces. The smart system was an upgrade from the traditional bins with its ability to compact waste with harvested solar power and report when it needed to be collected. The Transit organization was able to optimize daily collection with schedules created each day for just-in-time pickups. The Bigbelly stations’ enclosed design eliminated windblown litter and precipitation from entering bins, both factors that made collection much more difficult.
Eleven Bigbelly stations were purchased in 2010 as a proof of concept. The pilot was deemed a success based on collection frequency that quickly decreased from 3x to 1x time per week. This saved labor hours for other projects and necessary overtime. In addition, it reduced wear and tear on the collection vehicles and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Kitsap Transit expanded their fleet after the trial to over 30 locations with a mix of both high and standard capacity smart units. The high capacity’s compaction is right-sized for popular transit hotspots, while the standard capacity is well suited for the outer perimeter of the transit system.
Given the waterfront location and bin footprint spanning the transit system, Bigbelly transformed Kitsap Transit’s waste operations in more ways than one. Crews no longer need to worry about overflows, windblown litter, or pest access to the trash as a food source thanks to the Bigbelly stations’ enclosed design.
For smart waste bin locations at bus stops in remote areas on the Kitsap Peninsula, the units’ communications and notifications are critical so that crews only venture to pick up a bin when it is ready for collection. All of Bigbelly’s standard and high capacity bins integrate into a central dashboard where the fleet can be managed effectively.
Waste collection labor hours were reduced by 67% from 36 to 12 hours per week and reallocated to other tasks more visible to the riders. Collections trips reduced from an average of 3x to 1.2x per week. This reduction equates to an estimated 2,496 gallons of fuel saved annually, meaning a lower carbon footprint for Kitsap Transit.
Kitsap Transit has recognized that CLEAN drives the efficiencies of the Bigbelly system. As such, upgrading stations and securing lifetime access to CLEAN is a top priority. Building on its successes, Kitsap Transit has ambitious plans to increase operational efficiency and rider engagement levels around sustainability; Bigbelly is excited to help Kitsap Transit achieve these goals as they consider continued expansion of their smart waste and recycling fleet.
Kitsap County is on the western shore of Puget Sound, directly across from Seattle, Washington. Kitsap Transit is a public transit agency serving Kitsap County, Washington. Kitsap Transit operates bus, vans, and ferries year round with routes running up to 80 miles north to south and 30 miles east to west. It serves the area population of 251,000 with 1,211 stops system wide supporting nearly 4 million rides annually.