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Alba Iulia pilot results in 21 percent distance and 12 percent fuel savings

15 March 2021

The third and last pilot of the PlastiCircle project in the Romanian city of Alba Iulia secured important transport savings in the packaging waste treatment chain. Through the use of route optimisation algorithm, eco-driving systems, and placing sensors in collection containers, Alba Iulia was able to reduce the distance travelled by rubbish trucks in the pilot area by 21 percent, in turn saving them a 12 percent reduction in fuel costs.

Prior to the implementation of the pilot, rubbish trucks in the pilot area travelled an average distance of 3.6 km per day. Thanks to the solutions trialled, this was reduced to 2.8 km per day. Fuel consumption was also reduced from an average of 4.3 to 3.8 litres per day. The savings represent not only the clear economic benefit associated with reducing the cost of collection per route but also a positive environmental impact, producing fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and releasing fewer pollutants to the atmosphere.

The savings are a result of the holistic approach proposed by PlastiCircle, introducing innovative technologies for the collection and transport of plastic packaging waste to increase recycling rates in Europe and close the plastic loop. As part of the technical solutions for the pilot, the Municipality of Alba Iulia placed 20 smart containers and 11 transceivers in the Goldis and Arnsberg districts. The IoT platform used to track participation in the pilot saw 255 families registered with a total of 470 citizens.

Only containers that were more than half full were collected, while the route optimisation algorithm revealed the best route to collect them. The system calculates a new course considering the shortest distance to collect a series of containers, showing the order of collection and the best way to reach them. In addition, drivers had access to this information through an application, which displayed the locations and had sound alarms for eco-driving principles (e.g. parameters such as speeding, excess of RPM, excessive idling or excessive use of the power take-off (PTO)).

The route optimisation algorithm alone resulted in distance savings of just 2% due to the small and dense characteristics of the pilot area. This combined with the filling level sensors, however, significantly increased the savings. The other pilots implemented in Valencia (Spain) and Utrecht (The Netherlands) had greater savings in distance and fuel due to the higher number of containers and their higher volume capacity, which allowed the skip of containers to be filled with less than a chosen threshold and resulted in fewer stops.

Speaking about the pilot’s results, Francisco Ample, software developer at SAV, said that “better improvements in terms of travelled distance and fuel can be achieved while increasing the number of containers and their volume capacity. For the eco-driving system, it is important that drivers have good training to follow the sound alarms in order to improve the eco-driving parameters.”


For more detailed information on the Alba Iulia pilot, watch the Virtual Study Tour that took place on 15 October 2020 on our Youtube channel: