How M2M and IoT technology could help local authorities reduce littering

IoT Litter Innovation

Back in the summer of 2017, the Government launched the Litter Innovation Fund – a new initiative designed to encourage local communities to come up with smart ideas to tackle the problem of littering. M2M and IoT technology could play a huge role in this new initiative and Zest4 can help.

Cleaning up the streets currently costs UK tax payers around £800 million a year, but much of this cost could be avoided with some clever thinking and some new, innovative ideas.

The Litter Innovation Fund was launched to enable local authorities, community groups, charities, educational institutions and small to medium enterprises to apply for funding towards the development of creative solutions to littering in their local areas. If successful, their ideas could be rolled out much more widely and even adopted nationally.

Here at Zest4, we are hugely supportive of the use of technology to tackle community-based issues, such as littering, and we’re working hard to develop solutions that enable communications resellers to help local organisations to succeed.

To help tackle the problem of littering, Zest4 are developing a new smart bin solution. Using smart sensors, GPS and cellular connectivity, the new solution will enable end users to remotely monitor fill levels in their bins and skips, and then deploy collection resources at optimum time periods. This will not only ensure that bins aren’t left overflowing, but it will also help to increase the efficiency of collection services which in turn will reduce costs.

How the sensors will work

  • Sensors are self-powered and installed in skips and bins around the City.
  • Sensors can be connected independently or as part of a clustered group reporting into a central hub.
  • The data from bins and skips is uploaded and stored on a cloud service. This information is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for Councils.
  • The web portal will provide:
    • Alerts of full bins and live fill-level amounts of all bins, allowing Councils to monitor fill-level, maintenance, and collection activities.
    • Suggestions for locations which are full too soon after a collection and may require extra bins.
    • Route management – routes are calculated based on live fill-levels along with predictive pattern recognition.
    • The ability to become more efficient through data-driven decisions.
    • The ability to predict the generation of rubbish and increase collection efficiency.
      • Data collected from each bin is processed & analysed allowing Councils to create analytical reports for improving overall operations.
      • Managing accounts and product features can be done with ease.
      • Ensure drivers never pick-up empty containers again.

Overview of the process


By including smart bin solutions in their litter improvement strategies, councils and local governments will have robust proposals that could grant them access to the Litter Innovation Fund. The fund currently offers grants of up to £10,000 for eligible organisations and up to £45,000 for projects aimed specifically at reducing litter entering the marine environment.

The first round of funding applications recently ended and applications are currently being assessed. Successful applicants will be notified in mid-February, after which time, development projects can get underway.

A further round of applications is planned for later in 2018, so communications resellers who work with local government and council customers, should introduce smart bin solutions to them now and help them develop plans for their future funding applications.

To find out more about M2M and IoT solutions from Zest4 and how communications resellers can generate revenue from this growing market, visit or call the Zest4 team on 0161 956 3355.