Barcelona plans high-tech trash cans

Barcelona is putting microprocessors in the trash. The Spanish city has announced a plan to outfit its public litter bins with memory chips designed to store data such as how full the containers are and when they were last emptied, according to a statement.

The contract waste-disposal company CLD (Cooperativa de Usuarios del Servicio de Limpieza Pública Domiciliaria de Barcelona) plans to install the chips directly on containers. The system will cost an estimated 20 million pesetas ($113,592).

Sanitation employees, with the aid of a portable computer, will be able to record and retrieve data including the last three times a particular bin was emptied, and even when it was last maintained and painted. The data, along with specially-developed software, will help plan the most efficient routes and schedules for trash collection, the city said.

To begin with, the system will be installed on 600 containers in Barcelona's Old Town, after which it is scheduled to be expanded to all 18,000 of the city's public waste bins.

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