Issue 21
Monday, 04 December 2017
Charles Darwin University
Research Associate Dr Deepika Mathur
Research Associate Dr Deepika Mathur

Researchers win $250,000 for ‘smart city’ idea

By Patrick Nelson

A research team in Alice Springs has won a $250,000 grant to develop a “smart system” for reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill.

Research Associate Dr Deepika Mathur from CDU’s Northern Institute said the project to develop “smart” rubbish skips had the potential to improve productivity and sustainability in Alice Springs.

“The idea is to fit electronic sensors to a set of commercial waste bins, which would transmit data about the volume and weight of the contents to waste management authorities and the skip operator,” Dr Mathur said.

“With better data, they’ll be equipped to make better decisions on issues such as short-term scheduling, as well as inform them of long-term trends.”

Dr Mathur said the aim of the project was to improve efficiencies within the construction industry.

“Construction waste is the largest single source of waste to landfills, making up about 40 per cent of the total waste nationally. This contributes to the increasing financial and environmental costs of operating landfills.

“Studies show that on-site sorting of construction is one of the most efficient ways of sorting construction and demolition waste. If waste is sent to a management facility already sorted there is a higher chance the material can be reused or recycled.”

Dr Mathur said the first smart skips would be tested at four building sites in Alice Springs next year.

“If successful, Alice Springs and the Northern Territory would become a best practice case study in terms of managing its construction and demolition waste,” she said. 

The funds came from the Australian Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs Program to improve the liveability of Australian towns.