Current Issues

2021 : Volume 1, Issue 1

IoT Based Waste Management System

Author(s) : Sarmad Hameed 1 , Faizan Ur Rahman 1 , Muhammad Amir 1 , Zain Ul Abedin Babrawala 1 and Moez Ul Hassan 1

1 Department Mechatronics Engineering , SZABIST , Pakistan

J Robot Mech Eng

Article Type : Research Article




Waste not just nowadays, but since centuries is one of the biggest problems of the world. Many governments and people came and went, many revolutionists, scientists, philanthropists, etc. too tried work on this aspect of life, but 100% output was not witnessed in any case. As time passes by, population around the world increased, hence resulting in large number of waste. Slowly and gradually this number grew so high that ultimately for many, it became problem to manage such enormous amounts, resulting in disastrous outcomes. With the help of modern technology, here in this paper we tried to solve this issue. To at least begin all on our own, we started it with implementing this system in our university, as we know that well begin is half done, soon it started to produce pretty good outputs and issue of mismanagement of waste, at least in our University, was resolved to pretty much extent. This paper focuses on how a self-designed array of Ultrasonic sensors can be used to get best possible results of dustbin’s status based on amount of waste in it. Further how fast will system be synchronizing and giving its current status in a span of few minutes to main server. Further locations of dustbins will also be prescribed in system hence enhancing real-time output effects of surrounding as well, helping in better outputs and analyses.

Keywords: Embedded System; Artificial Intelligence; Prediction; Neural Network




In modern era of urbanization, enormous amounts of wastes are produced daily, and in developing countries like Pakistan, urbanization and increasing amount of population is creating lots and lots of problems, be it local administration, education, health, food, shelter, etc., most important problem is of mismanagement of waste. Karachi, city that worth 70 percent of entire economy of Pakistan, and is a metropolitan, is facing worst conditions ever it had faced in 200 years of history. Karachi was the city that even during British rule was maintained a lot. Streets used to be washed with waters, no littering; even at some places littering was fined. By early 1900s, it was named as cleanest city in India and was known as ‘PARIS OF ASIA’ [1]. As time passed, after independence, cleanliness was still of significance, but sooner people discovered about how they can misguide their bosses by maneuvering them and not dong any work. Many leaders came, and some even got successful in keeping city clean, but as their govt. got off, so did cleanliness. On the other hand, soon Karachi’s population started to rise and as per latest census, Karachi’s population is estimated to be 14.9M [2], and with no proper management system. Departments like Metropolitan Corporations, Municipal Corporations, Waste Management Authorities, etc. do exist, but there is lack of check and balance to make them work efficiently and effectively.

As per latest report by waste management authorities, they fail to fulfill their jobs responsibly due to lack of technical resources. More or less, 9000 tons of waste is produced in Karachi, and that will too reach to an expected value of 18000 tons within 2-3 years. Lack of planning, improper, irrelevant or in majority parts, no use of technology at all, and obviously poor management is areas that need to be worked on to get some positive changes [3]. As per waste management reports, waste from city is collected by using 567 trucks/vehicles from small dumps situated in different areas. And out of total waste, only 50% is collected by these people; rest is left to lie on streets and sewerage lines. Collection of this waste costs around PKR 294-300/ton (vary as per diesel price, truck’s efficiency, traffic flow) [3]. Collected waste includes Food Waste, Bones, Paper, Textile, Plastic, Grass Dumps, Leather, Metals, Glass, Misc., where food waste is in large amounts and metals etc. are least found. Left over 50% waste, that is food majorly, actually decomposes in open places and is a root cause of an increasing amount of diseases in our society. In our country, 70% population consists of poor people, and most dumps are found in poor places too creating extreme health problems especially for poor ones that can’t even afford proper medication and healthy food for themselves.

Considering all facts and figures, and highlighting the fact that management matters are going out of control due to NO USE OF LATEST TECHNOLOGY, that will surely help out dept. and officials in 100% accurate monitoring and in getting realistic real-time feedbacks. Internet of Things (IOT) based systems are being designed and used in several parts of worlds (that includes, Tanzania, Korea, Middle East, Singapore, etc.) to cope up with this growing waste producing urbanization and population. IOT is a combination of electronics, software, sensors, actuators and all of them connected through a network, or internet. IOT is known as technology of 21st century [4] and, in simple, it helps in real time monitoring, controlling or accessing of anything, at anytime from anywhere. To encounter this problem, IOT will be used to get real time litter update.

It was recently encountered in Pakistan that workers pretend to their bosses that they are going to pick up wastes, but instead they didn’t used to go and used to steal gasoline’s from vehicles pretending that they went and certain amount of gasoline is burnt [5]. In this project, Ultra Sonic sensors will be placed on dustbins that will be giving real time updates in every 10-15mins by flashing data on main server that will be located in head office, specifically in chief’s room and generally can be viewed by anyone on prescribed server. To make sure, overall price efficiency is also achieved, routes for driver, keeping in view all real time traffic updates through Google Maps, will also be specified to make sure least amount of time and fuel is burnt. Further every bin and area will be monitored and updated 24/7 and least amount of overflowing and decomposition of waste will be observed, making sure city is cleaned timely with maximum efficiency and tidiness.

Related Work

In [6], it is described that how system based on 8051 Microcontroller powered through external power supply merged with IR sensors to detect waste level are used. After detection of level, data is transferred to web browser through 434 MHz Radio frequency module that is further interpreted by Intel Galileo Gen2 microcontroller and displayed on eb browser simply with dustbin identity number that is 1 or 2, etc. and its current status, normal or full. In [7], firstly bins are equipped with RFID tag, RFID Reader, PIR Sensor, Servomotor and Ultra Sonic Sensor. All these sensors are connected to Arduino and data acquired through sensors is transmitted to client using GSM and Wi-Fi module. PIR sensor is used to detect human presence and automatically open dustbin cover. On being full, signals are sent via GSM module to server in municipal office. Once cleaned, current is status is sent to server stating that cleaning is done. In [8], a system is designed that does not only take an input via IR sensor of dustbin and send its information process with a microcontroller through a text message when it is full. Person with RF ID card will clean the garbage and once it is clean, text message will be sent. Further waste is separated through PH sensor and conveyer belt into degradable and degradable bins. Here [9], status of dustbin is identified through 3 different IR sensors. Three IR sensors at different positions are placed on dustbins; each IR sensor is assigned a position. When 1st IR sensor gives output, it indicated that Bin is empty. When 2nd and 1st, both IR sensors gives output, it denotes 50% level of dustbin, while when all three gives output, it means that dustbin is 90% full. Additionally weight sensor is also equipped that works when threshold weight limit of dustbin is achieved. ARM Microcontroller is used to extract data from these sensors linked with Wi-Fi module that transmits data to mobile through Wi-Fi router.


Here in this paper, our design, working and application is based on simplest phenomenon. Considering all domestic problems, it was decided to firstly implement this system in our own institute to make sure that at least initiatives are being taken on such destructible problems. To take input from dustbin of waste amount, two sensors were considered, Ultra Sonic sensor and Infrared Sensor. After trial and error and further study, Ultra Sonic Sensor was selected because IR Sensors cannot work properly in dark environment whereas Ultra Sonic sensors are capable of working in all environments. Arduino UNO is used as microcontroller to interpret data from sensors received and transmit it using an attached Wi-Fi module. Data obtained from sensors is sent to main server/client continuously with a time interval of 3 minutes so current situation of bin can be analyzed. Data flashed on server does not only show verbal status of bin but also gives data continuously displaying data log and status of dustbin on web server.
Internet of Things (IOT)

Since centuries new technological advancements are happening, every era giving new resources and opportunities to people to make their lives easier and efficient than before. Starting from conversation or sending voice message through telephone till the never ending pioneering in every aspect of life, be it using an old big sized and poorly pictured television too newly designed more sophisticated and qualitative led screens and a lot more to come. Gift of information technology given to people in 19th century actually impacted everyone a lot and changed many people’s lives. People’s produced machines soon started proving themselves to be more effective and efficient eliminating human observations and manual inputs that are not just less accurate but are too time consuming as well. Secondly to get more accurate data so better decisions can be taken based on the data acquired and for best accurate predictions, efficient ways of collecting and logging data is being considered a lot and lot of work is being done on that. For instance one wants to collect data of other region or a place that is far from his access, traditionally, there were only one or two ways that he/she can use that is either by appointing a person on a particular task or by visiting that place again and again. Both of these methods would cost a person huge amounts and chance exists that authenticity will be compromised and that could be due to any reason, either by human error or purposely to vague results. Further, chances of data lost are a lot as well.

Considering all scenarios, and in pursuance of making things 0 and results more efficient, accurate and less lingering, new methods were introduced. Beginning with transmission using telephone, then FAX, and then introduction of internet. Introduction of internet was the thing that effected every aspect of life and slowly and gradually effected every person. With further advancement in internet, known as technology of 21st century, internet of things was introduced. In simple three liners, internet of things (IOT) is a system through which data can be accessed from ANY WHERE in the world, at ANY TIME, and by ANY ONE (any one means any normal person who officially has an access to data or is an authority of that particular data). No third party involvement is necessary in deploying such system and user can have complete authority and access in his control.

Internet of Things uses simple methodology. Sensors are used as inputs to any IOT based system and are an important part of system. Any problem in sensor can easily disturb the whole system and its working, so sensors need to be very accurate and perfectly checked. So, inputs from sensors are taken, and are compared to the set logic or condition that is programmed in the associated microcontroller of the system. Microcontroller, we can say the brain of system that makes everything happen possible, compares the input with what it has been programmed by user, and then transmit data to main server or user through any transmission mode, be it WI-FI or 4g/LTE. What all it needs is an internet that can transmit the acquired data at any distance anytime and anywhere in the world.

For example, in maintaining waste in region where waste production varies a lot from one are to another. In such conditions, IOT based systems will be placed in dustbins that will be monitoring how fast or how slow these bins are getting full, which further interpret that how much waste is being produced by that area, more or less number or no dustbins are required in that are, that could also help estimate the amount of waste generation that could be further worked on how or what steps can be taken to reduce such amounts and help environment and others. So, Internet of Things is slowly and gradually entering every part of life, aimed at giving most efficient, effective and reliable outputs that is making people’s life easier and precise.

Ultrasonic Sensor
Ultrasonic Sensor and Infrared Sensor both are widely used in obstacle detection and distance measurement. Ultrasonic sensor works on principle of sound waves. Sound waves are emitted and on encountering any hindrance, waves are reflected back and are received on sensor. The time interval between receiving waves is used to measure distance. Ultrasonic sensors are best suitable mostly for all type of materials [10]. As a dustbin can have a variety of materials, so ultrasonic sensor suits to be fine in the case provided. A set of sensors, as mentioned in Figure 1, is designed whose output value is programed to be average of all four sensors as it will give more accuracy in system.


Figure 1: Ultrasonic sensors attached with circuitry.

Arduino Mega 
Arduino is the widely available and most preferable micro controller of modern time. It comes in variety of range, but we have selected MEGA, mentioned in Figure 2, because it is more than enough to cater all our need. Related modules and sensors are easily and economically available and are comparatively simpler and appropriate.

Figure 2: Arduino Mega.

Esp8266 Wi-Fi Module
Wi-Fi module compatible with Arduino, ESP8266, mentioned in Figure 3, is used here. This module is very small in size compare to other ones and is perfect enough to cater all needs. Beside its small size, ESP8266 works perfectly, and for our purpose, where size matters a lot and everything needs to be shrinking without compromising on output’s quality, ESP8266 proved to be best choice.

Figure 3: ESP8266.

In this system rechargeable batteries, displayed in Figure 4, have been used to make sure they can get recharged easily and provide appropriate outputs for the system. They need to charged externally or can be replaced with already charged one as per proper maintenance system.

Figure 4: Complete Circuitry System.

Data Output

After completing system designing and making it into work, following data of a building was observed through system based on its delivered data on web server which is further noted and plotted to analyze waste dumping in that particular area.

S. No

Ultrasonic Sensor outputs





4:00 am

Empty Dustbin Placed


10 cm

7:00 am

People started throwing little trash


40 cm

10:00 am

People threw more trash


60 cm

1:00 PM

More trash was thrown


70 cm

4:00 PM

Little more used


75 cm

7:00 PM

Very little more used


85 cm

10:00 pm

More trash dumped


86 cm

1:00 am



86 cm

4:00 am

Not used


0 cm

4:01 am

Dustbin emptied


Web Server/ Client

Output on webserver, namely Dashboard in our case, was noted. Webserver did not only showed amount of waste in percentage but also showed current location of dustbin with the help of Google map as each dustbin is assigned fixed coordinates based on its placement location which also helps in analyzing all nearby circumstances in real-time through all Google based applications that are synched with coordinates based system or typically Google Map (Figure 6).

Figure 6: Webserver/Client.

System’s Block Diagram

Figure 7: System’s Block Diagram.

Block diagram mentioned in Figure 7 represents the all over functioning of circuit. It clearly shows that data from bin is transferred to Arduino, which is powered by batteries, and is in link with different sensors. All these pre mentioned modules link and finally Arduino transmits data to server which displays position of bins.

System Flowchart