Modules, Connectivity, Platforms

Terradona Cliiink: IoT-Enabled Digital Rewards Encourage Consumers to Recycle

By 2030, the European Union (EU) wants its member countries to recycle 80 percent of their municipal waste. That’s a laudable goal — and an ambitious one, considering that only about 30 percent is recycled today, according to Eurostat.

Achieving that goal will help save not only the environment but also money. In France, for example, the cost of managing waste is increasing by about 6 percent annually. Diverting 80 percent of that into recycling frees up both landfill space and municipal budgets.

Citizens can play a significant role by sorting their waste, so it’s easily recycled, thus minimizing the cost for municipalities. That’s why Terradona developed Cliiink®, which encourages consumers to recycle with a digital rewards program.

Simple and Convenient

The EU’s 2030 recycling initiative includes goals for each waste type, such as 90 percent for card stock, 60 percent for plastic and 90 percent for glass. Cliiink supports all of these, as well as metal. Here’s how it works:

  • Terradona developed a patented sensor that fits into the opening of a recycling container and identifies each type of material that a person inserts, such as a bottle or can.
  • Users download the Cliiink app to find nearby waste containers. If they don’t own a smartphone, they can request a free contactless card.
  • Cellular Internet of Things (IoT) technology connects the container’s sensor to users’ Cliiink app or card to track the amount and types of waste that they recycle. When they’re done, Cliiink awards points that they can redeem at participating local businesses or donate to charity.
A person using a smart phone to open a bottle in a recycling machine.

“Enabling all your city-dwellers to recycle their waste easily gives you the opportunity to save €5 per person per year. This virtuous and self-financing system combines economic development and ecological value.”

Jean Marc Toubiana, CEO

Terradona also offers an optional IoT sensor for each recycling container that monitors the levels inside, so municipalities know precisely when they need to be emptied. This saves money and reduces pollution because trucks are routed only to containers that need to be emptied, instead of all of them. It also ensures that people don’t get frustrated by containers that are too full to accept their recyclables. Finally, by analyzing the data, municipalities can easily determine where usage is high enough to warrant additional containers.

Flexible, Affordable IoT Modules Enable Fast Rollout

Found in 2013, Terradona’s customers include more than ten municipalities in its home country of France, as well as Monaco. The company is rolling out Cliiink worldwide, starting with Spain and South and East Europe.

Global expansion requires a cellular IoT module capable of using any operator’s network. The module also must be inexpensive enough to help keep Cliiink affordable enough for most municipalities, even small ones.

To meet those requirements, Terradona turned to Telit, which recommended the GL865 QUAD V3. This quad-band GSM/GPRS module is widely used across Europe, South America and other regions for mission-critical IoT applications such as security systems and electric utility infrastructure. The GL865 QUAD V3 also gives Terradona the flexibility to update module firmware over the air.

A smart phone is next to a recycling machine.

“Telit had a 4x cheaper solution comparing to big local operators, with flexibility that others couldn’t offer.”

Jean Marc Toubiana, CEO

Terradona liked that Telit offered a suite of solutions that significantly reduces cost and complexity:

  • GSM solution: The Telit GL865 QUAD V3 is a quad-band GSM/GPRS module. The module is part of the widely deployed xL865 product family. Terradona wanted a solution that would allow for 2G, 3G and 4G solutions.
  • SIMs and data plans: Telit’s OPTIMUS service analyzes the module’s data usage to identify the most cost-effective rate plan, and then automatically applies it retroactively for maximum savings. This also frees Terradona to focus on expanding Cliiink and developing other innovative solutions, instead of manually comparing and changing rate plans.
  • Management: Telit’s IoT Portal is a cloud-based platform as a service (PaaS) that streamlines and centralizes a wide variety of management tasks for devices, applications, connectivity, security and more.

“Today, Terradona is a ‘transition tech’ start-up: a digital and ecological transition company aimed at transforming behaviors thanks to a sorting habits reward digital program, Cliiink. Tomorrow, thanks to an experience in the IoT and smart city field, Terradona’s business model will evolve towards communicating networks and the valorization of ecofriendly behaviors, accessible to all.”

Jean Marc Toubiana, CEO

Over 18 Million Items Diverted from Landfills So Far

Cliiink is the first and only digital recycling rewards system in France, where it has increased recycling up to 30 percent in the first year, with over 18 million items tracked and recycled. Twenty-five percent of households have signed up for Cliiink in the first year after their municipality implemented it. Business participation also is high, with more than 800 retailers and restaurants accepting Cliiink points.

This success also lays the foundation for additional IoT-enabled services in the future.

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