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Smart Ways to Reduce Waste, Alice Springs


Charles Darwin University

Alice Springs, Northern Territory

Project stage



Start date: 22 January 2018
End date: 22 May 2019

Project value

Australian Government funding:


  • MPH Projects, Alice Springs

Focus area

  • Facility and services management (buildings
  • energy
  • waste
  • utilities)

Project type

  • Smart waste

Technology type

  • Internet of Things
  • Wi-Fi
  • Data Management (Data platform, open data, data privacy and security, blockchains, standards)
  • Wireless sensor networks
  • Cloud computing
  • Online portal

Project summary

Separate skips for waste and recyclable materials that contain sensors that self-notify for collection will be implemented at construction sites. Smart skips are beneficial as they reduce the amount of mixed waste skips on construction sites and encourage on site sorting of waste in turn reducing the amount of recyclable waste entering landfill.

The challenge

Mixed construction waste leads to little or no material recovery. This results to high levels of unsorted waste going to landfill, exacerbating the current problem of rapidly filling landfills across the country. It is critical that construction waste is sorted at source so that material recovery is possible.


This project will trial ‘Smart Skips’, which use the Internet of Things technology to increase efficiency in onsite sorting, collecting, material recovery and disposal processes of construction waste. The Smart Skips, ICT-linked to the waste collection operator through robust sensors, telecommunications and smart software solutions, will read the onsite skip fill levels for different waste streams, forecast the future fill rates and enable the operator to define optimal collection time. This will allow the materials to be sorted at source with least amount of inconvenience for the building contractors.


The project will benefit different sections of the community. It benefits the contractors since the waste materials can be sorted on site through a cost neutral way; it will benefit the Town councils operating the landfills, since they will receive sorted waste that can be reused or recycled. It will also allow the skip operators to efficiently plan their skip scheduling. It will extend the landfill’s life thereby saving the taxpayers money since the landfill will not need to be expanded in a hurry.

Lessons learned

Working in a collaborative team can lead to great results and the project benefits through feedback from the various stakeholders. At the same time it is often difficult to get all the stakeholders together for steering committee meetings. Also encountering factored risks such as a project partner selling their business can completely send the project off- schedule.


We have done a pilot ‘Smart Skip’ and fixed the issues identified. We will now be deploying the actual ‘Smart Skips’ on construction sites next month and testing them on actual construction site under real-life conditions.

Contact details

Name: Deepika Mathur
Phone: 08 89595214
Email: deepika.mathur@cdu.edu.au