Throughout centuries one of the most daunting issues facing the world is the ever rising waste problem, which pollutes the environment and drowning some poor countries in a 35,000 ton toxic waste and dirt (Simmons, 2016).
Problems on waste escalates almost every day according to statistics. In the Philippines alone, about 35,000 tons of garbage are generated daily (Xinhua, 2017) wastes composed of Biodegradable (52.31%) Recyclable (27.78%), Residuals (17.98%) and special wastes (1.93%) (Castillo & Otoma, 2013) with the association of improper discipline regarding waste segregation the percentage total of unsegregated waste is a hundred percent. In Davao City, problems on waste segregation and disposal is also major according statistics. Davao City was not able to comply with the requirements of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, spending 151.73 million Php. for sanitary expenses, due to a report released by the Commission on Audit (COA), which showed that only 4 out 182 barangays of Davao have a proper Material Recovery Facility (MRF) (Rappler. org, 2017). A different study at Manila showed that 61.0 percent of 364 households exhibits proper disposal of waste (Yoada, 2014), but in contrast to this local MRFs can be a dumpsite of unsegregated wastes, wherein garbage collection has become a process of garbage mixing. Thus, Solutions have been made out of the deliberation regarding the issues mentioned, In the Philippines, the central government legislated the R.A. 9003, also known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, which authorizes local government units (LGUs) to take charge of the management of solid waste and solid waste management programs (Sumalde Z., 2005). In Compostela Valley, The Province of Nabunturan is the first in the country to have complete a 10-year Solid Waste Management Plan approved by the National Solid Waste Management Commission (Palicte, 2015).
The development of robotics had aid with modern problems, with this advancement in technology solutions had been developed in aiding problems such as waste segregation. Different prototypes and machines were made out of the deliberation on waste management, most of these machines are made expensive, and requires much workers to run (Zumalde, 2015) while some automated machines are expensive and energy over consuming. This new and advanced way gave rise to different solutions regarding waste segregation, and with it came different studies and researches with the very same goal as this research study, as to having research gaps, the research has its gap as well, in fact, the degree of segregation has not yet been clarified since the process of segregation is limited to what’s programmed in the camera to be processed, meaning that the study is limited to the specific types of wastes to be programmed for the camera to process during segregation.
The researchers conducted a study for the Automation and efficiency of Waste segregation by using Raspberry Pi 3 B+ as the main control of automation of the machine, and Arduino Uno as the deputy control of automation, making both controls communicate using the language python and C/C++, with the use of Alternating Current (AC) as the main source of energy. This study introduces the automation of waste segregation in local, regional and national community as well as to counter the ever rising problems regarding improper waste segregation with materials that can be found easily and can benefit the entire community.
Materials and Methods
Collection of Materials
The Raspberry Pi 3 B+, Arduino Uno, ultrasonic sensor and other robotics equipment were purchased in an electronic shop in Davao City. Materials such as the PVC and steel pipe were acquired at the local hardware. Materials like the ply board was recycled from scrap.
Preparation of Materials
The materials were examined prior to their utilization to ensure that they were fully functional. The sensors, camera, Raspberry Pi 3 B+, Arduino Uno, and other robotics equipment were also checked and tested. As well as the hardware materials which were thoroughly examined for any damage.
Assembly of the Machine
The Automated Waste Segregator (AWS) machine has a dimension of 70 x 23 x 35 cm3, was made using different hardware materials, which were used for the base and exterior design of the machine, pipes for the conveyor area’s framework, and the sensors, the software and other robotics equipment. The conveyor area’s framework was made by drilling 3 holes in 2 pieces of 70 centimeters ply board and by placing the 3 cut steel pipes in the holes then placing the steel pipes inside each PVC pipes, then finally by putting together the two slabs of ply board exactly aligned with each other connected by the pipes to form one single structure, after that procedure the belt was strapped in the pipes and was locked to form a single belt at the center of the conveyor area. The motherboard and most of the wires are located below the servo motor’s overpass. The ultrasonic sensors was placed at the middle to the side of the conveyor area where the servo motor was placed, an overpass was created as well for the servo motor in order for a specific type of waste to just pass through to the other side.
During the preliminary testing of the machine, 100 wastes of different kinds were used, composed of 25 biodegradable wastes of varying shapes and sizes, 25 non-biodegradable wastes of the same type, but varying shapes and sizes, and recyclable, 25 recyclable plastics of the same type, but varying sizes and shape, and 25 recyclable aluminum wastes, again of varying shapes and sizes. During the testing, the first kind of waste tested was the biodegradable waste, one by one each type of biodegradable waste was placed in the conveyor belt, the machine automatically detected it which made the machine operate. The next type of waste tested was the non-biodegradable waste, same as the biodegradable waste, one by one the non-biodegradable waste was placed at the conveyor belt, and then the machine operated, segregating the non-biodegradable waste to its specified bin. The first type of recyclable waste tested was the recyclable plastics, then after the testing of recyclable plastics the recyclable aluminum wastes came next. After each test had been completed, the same wastes were used again in the repetition of trials. Lastly, the data was collected and analyzed to be compared with the results of the final testing.
The machine’s quality was measured by doing multiple tests with different trials, checking the machine’s output, checking how the machine operates, by finding errors in the machine and by dealing with those errors, scientifically and carefully. The machine was also observed before, during and after each series of tests to find out if there were any changes in the machine in each test, in using the machine all data was recorded to indicate whether the machine was indeed efficient in segregating the wastes, and to test whether the Automated Waste Segregator (AWS) is indeed Quality Assured.
During the final testing of the machine, the researchers made sure to be fully equipped with the proper experimentation attire and made sure to be observed by their research adviser and any professional, to be guided in testing their machine. During the testing, 100 wastes of different kinds was used, composed of 25 biodegradable wastes, non-biodegradable waste, recyclable waste, aluminum and plastic. During the testing, the first kind of waste tested was the biodegradable waste, one by one each type of biodegradable waste was placed in the conveyor belt, the machine automatically detected it making the machine operate. Each data was collected and observed each in every end of the test session. The next type of waste tested was the non-biodegradable waste, same as the biodegradable waste, one by one the non-biodegradable waste was placed at the conveyor belt, and then the machine operated, segregating the non-biodegradable waste to its specified bin, then the data was gathered by the end of the test. The first type of recyclable waste tested was the recyclable plastics, then after the testing of recyclable plastics the recyclable aluminum wastes came next, after both recyclable wastes’ test are finished, data was collected. After each test has been completed, the same wastes were used again in the repetition of trials. Then, all data was collected and then analyzed and was compared with the results of the preliminary testing. Lastly, every equipment used in the test was set aside safely.
Risks and Safety
Dangers and risks are unavoidable especially in creating the machine, since most of the materials used were mechanical and electrical, accidents are bound to occur if precautionary measures were overlooked. The researchers had seen to it to follow each and every rule and was very careful in handling materials used in the study, and made sure to be guided by a research adviser and professionals in conducting tests and in building the machine.