In New Green Initiative, City of San Francisco Brings Waste Collection into 21st Century

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In partnership with Nordsense Technology, 1,000 Internet-Connected AI Powered Sensors to be Installed in Trash Bins along Major Commercial Corridors


Nordsense, an AI-based waste management technology company, today announced it has secured a contract with the City of San Francisco to optimize waste collection across the city. Beginning this spring, Nordsense will install 1,000 multi-point reference sensors in trash bins along major commercial corridors. The sensors will monitor activity – including bin fullness, temperature and fill rates – in order to identify waste generation patterns. Collected data will help the city mitigate container overflow, reduce the number of overall collections, guide bin placement and optimize operational resources.

“The pilot program showed us firsthand the benefits of the sensor technology to improve cleanliness on our city’s streets, and we’re looking forward to implementing the expansion,” said San Francisco Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru. “The partnership with Nordsense will allow us to use real-time data to better service the public trash cans and deploy resources more strategically.”

As the leading AI-based waste management solution in the marketplace, Nordsense’s platform uses machine learning to analyze waste generation patterns in specific locations and make data-based predictions about activity to prevent overflow and optimize collections. The company’s sensors measure 16 points within the bin to establish a “topology” of waste for each individual container, allowing detection of “static zones” and objects that may be sticking out of a bin, and helping filter out “false positives” that may signal more waste than is actually present.

“In most American cities, waste collection is handled in much the same way it was 100 years ago, with inflated costs, a substantial CO2 footprint and service that isn’t closely aligned with variable demand,” said Anders Engdal, CEO of Nordsense. “Our partnership with the City of San Francisco is aligned with San Francisco’s Sustainable City initiative and is an important component of its vision for the reduction of waste. The primary goals are to improve services to citizens, make the city cleaner, reduce the number of public complaints, understand where more bins are needed and where bins can be removed, as well as reduce the number of overall collections.”

This contract is a direct result of the San Francisco’s Startup in Residence program ( that connects governments with startups to solve a broad range of civic challenges. In 2018, as part of the program, Nordsense collaborated with San Francisco officials to complete a highly successful three-month pilot project. This included installing 48 sensors across the city to create public “smart” bins that collected real-time data about trash levels and patterns. The result was a dramatic reduction in the number of overflowing bins (80% drop), as well as reductions in illegal dumping (64% drop) and street cleaning (66% drop). Complaints from the public concerning trash overflow in sensorized bins was virtually eliminated. The project also generated data revealing how empty or full bins were – on average – when they were serviced. This information indicated increasing the number of bins overall would have less impact on the cleanliness of city streets than smarter distribution of bins based on measurable activity.

Using data collected from the 1,000 smart bins, San Francisco will be able to optimize bin placement and identify areas where more recycling options are necessary to reduce the amount of material transported to landfills. It will also glean vital information necessary to optimizing routing for collection vehicles. Sensor installation will begin this spring in commercial corridors including Chinatown-North Beach, Downtown, Haight, Mission, 3rd Street Light Rail, Ocean-Sunset, and other locations to be determined. For more information about Nordsense and its waste collection optimization technologies, visit the website at

About Nordsense
Nordsense is redefining waste collection using artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT) technology. Nordsense has created a complete end-to-end solution that optimizes waste collection processes by monitoring container levels, applying advanced data analytics and delivering an event-driven turn-by-turn navigation for waste collection. For the first time, Nordsense makes it easy and cost-effective to deploy a smart waste solution at large scale, enabling cities, waste operators, and waste haulers to perform waste operations much more efficiently. This provides a positive environmental impact by reducing the number of vehicles on the road and their fuel consumption, as well as the benefit of preventing unattractive and unhealthful overflowing bins. Nordsense has during the last two years acquired customers in Europe, the Middle East and North America and installed thousands of sensors for the benefit of its customers and their overall carbon footprint. Nordsense customers typically save more than 50 percent on waste collection per year. The company has offices in Sunnyvale, CA and Copenhagen. Visit us at

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