Rubbish Idea

So I have been brainstorming some project ideas for my major final year project and was thinking of tackling….

The disposal and segregation of waste in home.

With pressures of local governments and increased recycling and waste targets, the amount of different bins and collections has increased.
Households now own 4 or even up to 9 different rubbish bins (depending on where you live). I want to improve and make the experience of disposing and segregating waste easy, stress free and more intuitive, through product, system and service.

Does this seem like a feasible project or am I over complicating it? Does anyone know of any similar projects that have been done?

Would be great to get some other people’s opinions.

Probably. But obviously it’s not widely adopted or known, so why don’t you give it a go and see if you can solve it? It’s a real problem worth solving imo.

The way I recycle is to just have one big paper bag that I throw everything except food in (metal, plastic, paper) and then I just sort it at the recycling station. It takes more time, but instead it’s less hassle at home (I also have limited space). The bag fills up quicker than four bags, so I get to do four quicker runs to the recycling station instead of one massive, I prefer that.

Good luck.

4? 9?!?!

We have three; 1) green waste (for the yard), 2) trash (food waste, pet waste, etc.), 3) recycle materials (glass, paper, metal (aluminum foil)), etc. They are emptied once a week by an automated truck.

The collection point in our house is the kitchen. We use brown paper shopping bags and then, when filled, transport those down to the garage to be placed in the street-side containers. Not the most efficient in terms of personal energy, but the alternative is to have the street container by the back door (which isn’t possible in our home).

For our two-person home, for green waste a 96 gallon container (standard issue); garbage is a 35 gallon container, and recycle material is a 35 gallon container.

Our neighbors have two children. In addition to the green waste container, they have both 96 gallon trash and recycle containers.

Legislation is currently being considered in our community that will require that all curbside waste containers be hidden from public view when not sitting on the curb awaiting pickup (all on the same day), and that they are returned to their “storage location” within six hours. Why these elected goody-goodies think there is excess public funding around to pay for their time to promote these ordinances (versus schools, police and fire service, etc.) escapes me, but that’s another story…

I mention this because outside storage of refuse containers was not a consideration when our home was constructed and that the only alternative we have is placing them in the garage (which would displace an automobile (for which there is another ordinance already in place requiring that vehicle not be visible…)).

A valid project, but be careful what you create.

Offer a carrot, be the first garbage company to charge by the pound for garbage and you will see recycling rates skyrocket. If you reward me, I’ll be happy to separate all of my recyclables at home instead of you doing it at the transfer station.

I’d also include a stick. Your first 100 (?) pounds of garbage per month are at one rate, your second 100 is at a higher rate and so on. If people want to waste resourses, I say stick it to them.

If people want to waste resourses, I say stick it to them.

And the bigger the better I say!

Our weekly “trash” fills less than a 15 gallon trash bag. Our “recycle” bin on the other hand usually has the Tote overfilled (above the rim). Says something about “packaging” doesn’t it… . . .

L to R: 35, 64, and 96 gallon

4-9 bins!? What are you even sorting that into??

Where I live we have to take our recycling to the nearest drop off bin. For some reason this city doesn’t believe in sorting it before hand. Cardboard, glass, tin, metal etc all goes in to one bin… Then the city pays people to sort it… what a waste.

thanks for the feedback and the interesting insights.

I’m finding that the amount of bins and systems put in place by local governments differs from country to country and even neighbourhood to neighbourhood, making each problem and experiences very localised.

I am thinking to simplify and solve the ‘common’ problem, say for in home glass, plastic, paper and bio waste disposal.

9 bins! It’s true!

I also saw this recently which I fell in love with…

An old classmate of mine from university did a similar project - specifically in relation to the problem of recycling facilities in flats and apartments where space is limited. He got quite a lot of interest in the project from a couple of local councils…

Since then, the UK has definitely gone even more crazy with multiple recycling bins (we have three bins, but are also expected to separate our glass, which means we actually need four) and I would think it’s always a good issue to tackle.

There’s also this:

in French…but I think the visuals will sell the story

There’s also this:

An in-the-home composting unit… hard sell for me, but… .

And two separate hand-cranked units for crushing plastic bottles and cans is redundant. Why not one that does both jobs? I like the idea of smashing wine and spirit bottles… the sound of shattering glass is music to my ears. … . The “water use” module makes the most sense of any of them. The hand-cranked refuse paper compactor… nyeah, it takes up less space flat, you just have to manually “flatten” the cartons.

But overall, it seems like a whole lot of “appliance” for no more than it does.

I think that would be a really interesting project. I recently has talking with some friends about green solutions in general and the idea of rewarding people for doing good. You have (in most states) a 5 cent incentive to recycle but that 5 cents is not worth the time to most people. Maybe instead of rewarding people for doing good you make it harder to do bad? Nothing is going to be easier that throwing all your recycling and garbage into one bin. So maybe you make it easy to put things into recycling, and harder to put into the trash? Just a thought!
Keep us posted on the progress!