Sustainability regulations and the demand for safer and more efficient operations make it clear the digitalization of waste removal processes is vital and inevitable. Digitalization of Waste will not solve every operational problem, but it can reduce the time it takes for you to discover an issue and fix it.
By Don Diego Padilla II

As we move towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly economy, demand for the Digitalization of Waste (DoW) removal processes is increasing. According to The World Bank, the world produces more than 2 billion tons of solid waste per year. An estimated 33 percent of this goes to landfills or leaks into the environment. Population growth and rapid urbanization are expected to drive garbage production to 3.4 billion tons by 2050. Urgent action is required to halt this growth and reduce overall production if we hope to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals agreed upon by all member states in 2015. It is clear—tools that enable increased efficiency and responsibility are necessary. Paper route collection cannot meet the safety, efficiency or sustainability demands required today.

Safe Fleet® FleetLink Camera Systems™: Up to eight cameras can be installed on a truck to meet your unique requirements and objectives. The pictures and video recordings provide a more comprehensive view of incidents and service data, which are automatically recorded by the in-cab smart display.
Photos courtesy of Safe Fleet.

Integration of Digital Technologies
Optimizing waste management operations requires the digitalization of the waste industry. This involves the integration of digital technologies and data analytics into waste removal operations via the Internet of Things. I prefer to call this the Internet of Waste (IoW). This digital transformation is a concept whose time has come. MarketsandMarkets, shows the industry as growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 32.2 percent each year since 2018.

Figure 1 displays a typical DoW solution, involving the integration of an ERP suite of back-office applications: billing, reporting, routing, mapping, etc., with a mobile IoW device on a truck that can connect to 16 different peripheral devices, cameras, lift sensors, RFID, GPS, ECM, scales, etc. The integrated solution provides real-time transparency into the routing, operation, driver behavior, safety, efficiency, and productivity of the truck and driver. Following are examples of digitalization that can benefit your waste operation.


Figure 1: From in-cab, cloud to back-office: integrated waste fleet solutions that meet the safety and efficiency demands of today’s waste hauler. Safe Fleet Waste & Recycling (formerly FleetMind Solutions) has been on the forefront of this trend since 2003, dedicating themselves to developing the tools and services to help waste haulers digitally transform their operations to meet increasing demand.

Route Optimization
Digitally integrating back-office Route Management Software (RMS) with mobile, On-Board Computer (OBC) applications provides real-time business intelligence that makes route optimization and dynamic dispatching possible. Access to real-time, operational data enables an organization to be nimbler and address events as they occur. Dynamic dispatching is the ability to update routes in real-time, including adding, removing, and switching stops between trucks, creating helper routes, etc., and dispatching from the RMS to the truck and driver in a matter of seconds. This functionality leads to significant fuel savings and increases operational performance.

Automated Service Verification
Peripheral IoW sensors, cameras, and DVRs are part of an automated system that uses location and photographic evidence to verify a service was provided. This functionality reduces missed pickups, return trips, mileage, and carbon footprints, while improving fuel efficiency and the customer experience.

Predictive Maintenance
IoW telematics devices along with pre- and post-trip digital applications are used to monitor vehicle performance and identify potential maintenance issues before they occur. By analyzing telematics data, waste management companies can predict when equipment is likely to fail and schedule maintenance proactively, reducing the risk of equipment failure, and improving vehicle uptime.


Safe Fleet® FleetLink 6-Channel Monitor-DVR Combo: SSV9: This full-featured digital video recording (DVR) and camera solution is perfect for solid waste haulers (and concrete mixers) who want to capture video inside and around the vehicle but don’t need cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity.

Vehicle Tracking
IoW and telematics solutions are used to track the location of waste vehicles in real-time. This information is used to monitor driver behavior and ensure vehicles are operating within designated routes. In the event of a route deviation or unsafe driving practices, the system sends alerts to fleet managers, who take action as necessary.

Driver Behavior Monitoring
DVR, camera, and telematics technology is used to monitor driver behavior, such as harsh braking, acceleration, and speeding. This information is used to coach and train drivers to improve driving habits and reduce the risk of injury or damage.

Collision Avoidance
Cameras and IoW sensors are installed on waste vehicles to detect obstacles and other vehicles in their path. This functionality helps drivers avoid collisions and reduce the risk of injury or damage.


Safe Fleet® FleetLink AVL/GPS, with Live+: Maximize fleet efficiency and respond to safety concerns using information from one web-based application. This one source provides real-time GPS tracking and fleet management with integrated video surveillance.

Data Analytics
Collecting and analyzing waste volume, vehicle performance, and other operational data, enables waste management companies to identify areas for improvement and implement change to reduce costs and increase efficiency.

Improved Environmental Sustainability
The IoW benefits listed—optimizing routes, monitoring driver behavior, tracking vehicle location, etc.—all work together to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, supporting your organization’s sustainability goals.

Sustainability regulations and the demand for safer and more efficient operations make it clear the digitalization of waste removal processes is vital and inevitable. DoW will not solve every operational problem, but it can reduce the time it takes for you to discover an issue and fix it—which is key to sustainable growth and meeting the level of efficiency and safety our industry demands and expects today. | WA

A waste industry fleet management veteran, Don Diego Padilla II is Vice President of Sales at Safe Fleet Waste & Recycling, where he spearheads business and customer development activities. Safe Fleet is the largest fleet video supplier in North America with more than six leading video surveillance brands and associated integrated fleet safety management technologies designed to help cities work smarter and stay safer. Previously, Don Diego held the role of Regional Sales Director for Allied Waste (Republic Services), a leading provider of solid waste collection, transfer, recycling, and disposal services in the U.S. His industry white paper on fleet safety garnered a Network Products Guide Award in the “Best White Paper” category. He has been published in numerous industry magazines and is a frequent speaker at industry forums and regional municipal waste management events. Don Diego can be reached at (877) 630-7366 or e-mail [email protected].

Safe Fleet Waste & Recycling (SFWR) is the award-winning, technology leader of connected “smart truck” solutions for waste management fleets. Safe Fleet is a leading provider of video and safety solutions for fleets throughout North America and has more than 20 years of experience developing the most advanced fleet management, mobile and software solutions designed for waste and recycling collection environments. Safe Fleet systems are installed in thousands of vehicles across North America. Products enable the industry’s top fleets to link their drivers and vehicles to business operations in real-time to ensure optimal productivity, safety, sustainability, profitability, and customer service. For more information, call (877) 630-7366, e-mail s[email protected], or visit