Recycle Bin Design For Automated Residential Pickup
Many cities have sanitation trucks with robotic arms that can grab garbage bins from the curb, allowing for expedited collection. This process also extends to recycling collection as well by using the same type of bins, though each bin stores only one type of recyclable waste. Because of the bin’s large volume, and the need to set out multiple bins for different types of recyclable waste, this form of collection is reserved for apartments and commercial buildings.
Most residences have to set out multiple containers like blue boxes or bags, but these require manual pickup by sanitation staff. Having to manually lift all these containers makes for a slower pickup time, and more idling for the truck.
So I set out to design a single bin for residences that can keep things sorted, while offering the same convenience as an automated garbage bin. The hope is for a more cost-efficient system of recycle waste collection, saving time, fuel, and manpower.
I have found a simple and elegant solution: by turning the lid of the garbage bin into a separate bin, the container can separate the recyclables effectively. This was done without adding any more moving parts to the existing design.
To further this system, I added partition walls to both sections to allow four separate item types. Partitions in recycle bins are not unprecedented, which is assuring to know because of how the pickup will work:
As you can see in the image above, the bin would empty in two steps. After being raised and tilted 45 degrees, the blue section would empty into a reservoir. It would then be fully raised and tilted nearly upside down, emptying the remaining contents into a second reservoir. Both reservoirs would be partitioned, allowing all the contents to remain sorted.
Additional notes about the design:
The ‘cradle’ at the top of the blue box lid is to allow you to open the lid and get at the green bin without spilling anything, making it very accessible. This blue box could also have a lid, but I wanted to preserve the ‘open’ blue box we all know and love today. That is why I also made the bottom of the blue section angled downwards towards the back – to help keep items in.
There would also be numerous labels to remind people what goes where. A few drain openings would also be installed in both sections, beneficial if you are in a rainy city like I am.
Given the larger size of the bin, recycling could be a bi-weekly event for residents (Recycling pickup would still occur every week, alternating between two different regions). The blue bin could be made even larger to accommodate bi-weekly use.
This design would not only make for more efficient collection, but I believe it would be more convenient for those who use them everyday – residents! No more hauling separate containers to the curb.
Older bins could be retrofitted with this new lid, to save money.
The above design covers all the recyclables collected in my city. Some cities just have the blue box, so theoretically you could hit two birds with one stone and turn the green section into a garbage bin. This way a truck fitted with two reservoirs can collect both garbage and recycling in one go.