Optimizing Waste Collection From Portable Sanitation in Kenya

Fellows: Brian McInnis, Ivana Petrovic, Jan Vlachy
Data Science Mentor(s): Jen Helsby, Joe Walsh
Project Manager: Kevin Lo
Project Partner: Sanergy

Around the world, 2.5 billion people lack basic access to hygienic sanitation, driving diarrheal diseases which kill 760,000 children each year. Sanergy is a social enterprise which designs and manufactures low-cost, high-quality sanitation facilities called Fresh Life Toilets, operated by local entrepreneurs in Nairobi’s slums. Sanergy collects the waste, converting it into valuable end-products, including organic fertilizer, insect-based animal feed, and renewable energy.

Sanergy collects the waste from each location on a daily basis, even though some facilities could be emptied less frequently without compromising hygiene. In 2016, we worked with their data on facility operation and waste collection to determine the most efficient collection schedules, and built an algorithm to predict when and how often individual toilets will need emptying and the best routes for collection. These tools will help Sanergy increase the number of toilets in their service areas without straining existing resources.

You can find more information about this project on our blog.