Henry Ford did not say, I cannot make a car, because there are no roads, and the rail-road is already in place.....
if you want to create a sensor that uses power and is on a truly harsh environment, you have to either change the rules of physics and the conservation of energy on the planet or just deal with the harsh realities.
in England, there is a small company called Premier,
they do waste removal, just like in the U.S. Premier Waste Hauling
and have the exact same sort of bins as in the U.S.
when the truck comes, the front gets all the rubbish across the lip and the HINGE is far from the debris.
You can simply add a bolt-on [weld on] device under the hinge.
the driver has a charger or pack of batteries.
the truck has the receiver
when the truck comes to lift the bin, it can read the sensor, the battery level, the whole bit.
the bit about Henry Ford is that he did not put up all manner of restrictions on how the car can be used, he certainly did not say that the tank had to last for 5 years without being re-filled. nor that it had to work without human intervention if it were covered in mud. there is a difference between design goals and arbitrary conditions. 99.9% of bins never get debris on the hinge part of the bin.
you can weld a 1 inch square tube on the hinge side of a container, create a 4 or 6 foot long set of sensors that slides into the tube for protection and then peeks through the open ports to read the bin level of the closest object.
a cardboard box or three from old refrigerators will make the bin appear to be completely full.
I missed that you probably want to use a cellular link, but do not want to pay $25 per month per bin for the cell link. with millions of bins, who would !
a LoRa or Wifi that searches for your trucks, and that means any and all haulers so equipped. would then report from the mesh, back to your central database and then inform the proper subscriber of the bin status.
that means if a W.M. (Waste Management ) truck so equipped, drives through the industrial park, it would pick up and read the status of all the Republic bins, the Rumpke bins and the Premier bins......
and when a ADC truck drives through the next day, it too would read all the bins and the truck would report back.
the Truck would be the cell link, not the bin.
only the truck company would get to see their bin's data. the rest would be sent back to your offices and linked to the respective clients.
battery changes would be done when the bin reports a low batt condition and the drivers would need to get out of the cab every so often.
The added collection pickups, the customer convenience, all of that would pay the extra 2 minutes the driver would spend, once a year or every 6 months for changing batteries. and if the bin is emptied and the sensors do not reprot the correct empty condition, the Driver would have to get out and wash off the sensors. which, you could auotmate at some point.
Remember, some brave soul said,. ' give me 10's of thousands of dollars for a special truck with forks and even more thousands for bins with welded pipes on the side so you can fire 4 guys and have one driver pick up trash....
now the standard, but that guy had some big 'cobblers' back in the day.
the simple, first test can be on a Uni-Strut that is welded to a bin, and you install a faceplate, that bolts on. later, you can have holes cut in square tubes and have them welded to the bins.
patent the idea, like yesterday, and get world wide patents before that !
there are companies whose goal is to copy patent applications and just use that to apply for patents in every country that was not already filed. the patent goes the first to file, not the creator. long gone is the day when you prove you had the original idea so were awarded the patent.
as for those who have car bumper parking sensors, you also have a 80 MPH 'car wash' every time it rains to keep the debris from piling up.
and the sensor is designed to ignore anything less then 20 cm.