Waste not, want not: Why Prague is cleaning up waste

18 January 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly changed traditional waste generation patterns in our cities, but it is just one example of how city services must respond to our behavioural changes over time.

In the city of Prague, city officials have found that the current routes are not able to cope with these changes. Consequently, smarter waste collection services will introduce greater flexibility, while also offering other cities foresight into further benefits new technologies can bring, such as greater energy efficiency.

“Cities around the world face challenges related to growing urbanism, increasing volume of waste and insufficient flexibility,” confirms Petr Hlubuček, Deputy Mayor of Prague for the Environment, Infrastructure, Technical Equipment and Safety. “I am convinced that this project will contribute to our plan of making Prague an active initiator of green technologies,” added Hlubuček.

Beginning this Spring, all currently available data related to containers, vehicles and routes will be analysed to identify weak points and opportunities for improvement, such as ensuring on time waste collection, and adapting routes to reduce the number of waste vehicles needed.

Automated routes will be able to dynamically respond to changes in the city’s waste production and infrastructure, alerting drivers to updated routes. Moreover, 550 containers for electronic waste will be fitted with sensors to let those responsible know when they need to be emptied and to support the efficient recycling of these goods.

“Planning waste collection routes for over 130,000 containers in Prague is a complex and very demanding job and the successful outcome of this project can significantly help to improve it. This project upgrades the established systems of daily planning, real-time performance monitoring and evaluation,” said Patrik Roman, CEO of Pražské služby, a.s. [Prague services – a wholly-owned subsidiary of the city of Prague].

Smart waste collection is part of the Smart Prague 2030 strategy, which defines a zero-waste city as one of its priorities. Read more here.


Alex Godson Eurocities Writer