In an effort to curb littering and be more environmentally friendly, Waverly Council – which is responsible for managing Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach – is in the process of deploying Australia’s second largest fleet of solar powered smart rubbish bins.
In total 28 bins are set to be installed across 14 littering hotspots around Bondi Beach, which is expected to receive as many as 50,000 tourists over the summer months, as well as in Bondi Junction, a major shopping suburb. The deployment is currently part of a trial campaign, which is supported by the New South Wales Environment Protection Agency, who will test the bin’s efficiency and use. If successful, Waverly Council, intends to install the bins in other Sydney suburbs under its control.
The bins use solar power in order to compact the waste stored within them and then use WiFi technology to send a signal to authorities and communicate to them when they are full. They are able to hold up to 8 times the volume of common street litter bins or 5 times the volume of the average sized wheelie bin (commonly used at large music festivals and sports events). Once inside rubbish is squashed by a renewable energy powered compactor while an in-built air freshener deodorises the bins. When the bins are 85% full an email is automatically generated and sent to the Council but at any point management staff can view real-time rubbish levels of all bins in order to successfully manage collection rounds and prevent overflow. Previous studies have shown they can reduce street bin collections by up to 80% meaning emissions are reduced due to less frequent transportation.
The general public were consulted on different design and colour options for the bin. Ultimately, the council decided to keep in line with the colouring system used for household rubbish and recycling bins – yellow for recycling and red for general rubbish. This fits in with the majority of people’s wishes to have bright designs so that they can be easily seen from multiple locations in order to reduce littering and encourage increased numbers of people to use the bins. Clear signage has been found to be an integral component of the bin’s design.
Waverly Council is not the first council or city to experiment with solar rubbish bins who are also strategically installing cigarette butt bins at hotspot locations. Other well-known international cities including Amsterdam, Barcelona and New York have already conducted their own trials. Other Australian councils to have installed solar rubbish bins include Canada Bay and Parramatta, both in Sydney’s western suburbs, as well as Melbourne’s City Council.