Smart bins trump talking toilets in Wollongong city tech march

Smart bin, North Beach.
Smart bin, North Beach.

First came the talking toilet, now one NSW city is welcoming the brainy bin as the latest advance in "clever cans".

In the next embrace of technology to boost the workings of local infrastructure, Wollongong City Council has announced it will trial sensors in garbage receptacles to tell workers when they need to be emptied.

The new sensor technology will be installed in bins along the Blue Mile in North Wollongong and will be able to alert the council's cleaning teams when the bins are full.

Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said this was part of an attempt by council to "streamline frontline services".

"Over the past year we've seen a big increase in the number of people using our beaches, parks and public areas and this has naturally increased the need for bin collection services and cleaning," he said.

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"This trial will allow us to test out some new technology during the quieter months of the year so we can see if this is something that could work long-term for our community."

Over recent years several public parks across Wollongong have been furnished with "talking toilets" - an automated stainless steel apparatus which plays music after welcoming a user to the cubicle.

While the novelty proved popular with some families of young children, questions were raised about the expense of the "Exceloos", which cost upwards of $250,000 but feature fortified defences against vandals, which minimises maintenance costs.

Cr Bradbery said data collected through the smart bin trial would help inform bin placement and collection routes.

"We envision that technology like this could have practical uses across many other areas of council including stormwater management, asset inspections and the scheduling of public place toilet cleaning," he said.

At time of press the detailed steps for smart toilet cleaning remained unspoken.

This story First talking toilets, now brainy bins first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.