Australia pilots intelligent bins

July 12, 2007 at 2:19 pm

Are you sick and tired of public bins, whether they are designed for recycling or general waste, continuously overflowing and spilling their contents onto the street? Don’t you just wish that they could be emptied as soon as they became full? In Australia, this may soon be the case. Brisbane is set to trial ten solar powered “mega-bins”, which sense when they become full and actually ask to be emptied. Once full, the bins (which run on environmentally-friendly solar power) send a message to the local council, who will immediately go and empty them. The bins also have a clever LED indicator which flashes red, amber or green. This light helps to alert council staff about the relative state of the bin’s capacity. Furthermore, they have e-mail and texting capacity and can therefore send a message directly to waste services.

The bins are made from galvanised steel have already been trialled in America. The results from these pilot schemes suggest that the bins play an important role in keeping litter in check and helping with the overall issue of waste reduction. Indeed, the pilot schemes in America have been so successful that more than 300 ‘BigBelly’ bins line the streets from Massachusetts to California today.

The bins are clever in another way too, as they are designed with a ‘BigBelly’ compaction system in place. This system stops litter blowing away from the top of the bin and also prevents scavenging animals from rifling through the waste. This is due to a clever sealed unit at the front of the bin, which also reduces smell. The bins are designed to accommodate much more rubbish than a usual public bin, through compacting the rubbish and stopping it overflowing. This compaction system is powered by the sun, which charges the battery so that once fully charged, the bin can run for thirty days in complete darkness. The bins can reduce waste pick-up by four times or more, which helps the environment in another way as the number of waste truck trips are drastically reduced, cutting down on harmful emissions which reduce air quality. In the New York City borough of Queens, 44 of these unique bins have cut down on waste pickups by 70% since the city deployed their bins only a year ago. The bins are also convenient in that they can be placed anywhere; there is no need for trenching or wiring. They are also user-friendly with a rugged design, making them virtually vandal proof and strong against the elements.

There is yet another clever feature to the bins. Although eight of the ten BigBelly bins being tested will be for general litter, two revolutionary bins will be used for co-mingling recycling purposes. This means that within one recycling bin you can place all kinds of material such as paper, cardboard, glass, plastic and aluminium and steel. These two recycling bins will be the first of their type in Australia and will make the process of recycling a lot more convenient.

Overall, the bins are helping to make recycling, waste reduction and improving air quality a more manageable task, whilst also aiming to educate the public about these issues. Through unique advertising panels on the sides of the bins, people are forced to interact with the bin. Furthermore, everyone, especially young children, can now see a real solar panel at eye level performing an invaluable task for the local community. The benefits of these bins ensure that people are always aware of the environmental issues surrounding them in their everyday lives.

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