They have introduced Urbin, a smart bin that has built-in field sensors which not only sends updates every few hours on its status, but will also text the neighbourhood scrap dealers when it’s close to filling up so they can come empty it.
“Every day, 5,000 tonnes of waste is generated in the city, nearly 70 per cent of it by the community such as schools, colleges, residents and so on. We really wanted to find a way to get people involved in the recycling process in an accessible manner,” says Prajeeth Sitherasenan, who is the Community Manager at the organisation.
So they came up with Urbin, using independent manufacturers and youngsters in the tech field with a budget-efficient strategy. “Instead of sending us regular messages which is unnecessary, we have programmed the bin to update us once every six hours. This ensures we have to charge the battery only every six months. We got in touch with all the dealers who collect plastic and other recyclable waste and informed them about the initiative. So when the bin is 70 per cent full, it sends a message to the nearby dealer. Once they reply Yes, they have 24 hours to empty the bin,” explains Prajeeth.
How are the citizens involved? “Through our app Recykle, people can see with a map interface where the smart bins in the area are located, how full they are, etc. Once they empty the waste into the bin, they can scan a QR code that is on the bin. This will earn them points depending on the amount of waste they drop. At the end of the month, the top 20 can redeem the points with vouchers for salons, restaurants, etc.,” he explains.
With around 25 Urbins present in areas such as Mylapore, Kilpauk and Besant Nagar, Prajeeth and Kabadiwalla Connect are going around spreading awareness on the programme with workshops and plan to keep innovating. “We started with the idea in January, and now it has come to fruition. With feedback and more citizens involved, we plan to post more Urbins across the city in the time to come.”