EUROCITIES smart cities: Big Belly Bins – smart waste management in Dublin

  • environment
  • knowledge society

Smart bins in Dublin have the capacity of up to eight traditional bins and inform service providers when they need to be emptied.

What kind of bin can let you know when it’s full and has the capacity of up to eight traditional bins? Big Belly Bins, and there are already over 400 installed in the wider Dublin area.

These solar powered ‘smart bins’ are equipped with a compactor and wifi enabling them to inform the service providers when they need emptying. The solar-powered compactor gets triggered once the waste reaches a certain level, meaning that the bins can hold a huge 800 litres of waste – equivalent to six to eight standard bins.

Equally, when the waste reaches a certain level the bin sends a text and email to the relevant waste management division informing them that the bin is ready for emptying. The bins can also be fitted with optional extra technology such as air quality and sound sensors, information on travel times between bins and even wifi for people nearby to use.

The bins are intended to improve service efficiency by reducing the frequency that they need to be emptied and through a web-based application that allows for central management of the disposal system. In terms of quality of life, the bins have several benefits: they encourage cleaner streets and public places, and cause fewer problems in relation to the traffic congestion and noise associated with waste collection.

You can find out more about the use of Big Belly Bins in Dublin by reading our short case study in ‘European smart cities using ICT’, a collection of case studies from Green Digital Charter signatories available here; or visit


Photo: Kevin Zolkiewicz, Flickr

EUROCITIES staff contact

Nikolaos Kontinakis