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The Laziest Smart Bin Ever! A New Trash Can Design that Makes It Easier to Recycle Than Not To

One way to get people to recycle more at home is to design a new kind of trash can that makes it easier to recycle a can or bottle than to throw out waste in the trash. As CCE and University of Exeter's research reveals, there's some tension in many homes between recyclers and those who would rather just simply throw everything in the trash because it's easier than recycling. Certainly, laziness plays a major role in explaining why many people don't recycle at home. Rather than see laziness as an obstacle to recycling, it can actually encourage people to recycle given the right product innovations. My idea for a 3-section smart bin may be one solution to the recycling problem.

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Explain your idea in one sentence

My idea is a smart bin design that encourage people normally too lazy to recycle to do so because of a 3-section design that makes recycling cans and bottles easier than throwing them into the trash.
My idea is a smart bin with 3 sections for cans/bottles, paper, and waste. Similar to many of the two-compartment smart bins already available in the market, there are 2 compartments (one for cans/bottles and one for waste) created by a vertical division in the middle of the bin.

However, unlike existing smart bins, the side of the bin for cans/bottles would have a circular hole (5-8 inch diameter) so that cans and bottles can be placed into that compartment without having to open the top of the bin.  

Also, below those 2 sections will be a sliding tray (8-12 inches height, same length & width as the top portion of the bin) at the base for recycling paper products.  

Evaluation results

6 evaluations so far

1. How well do you think this idea will create new habits for the people involved?

Really well. I can see it creating lasting behavioural changes - 50%

The idea is pretty good but I’m not sure it will make new habits - 50%

Not sure the idea would really help people establish long-lasting habits - 0%

2. Can the idea be scaled to work in different countries and with different people?

Yes – it’s clear how the idea could be adopted by people from far and wide - 66.7%

Seems like it could work but needs some fleshing out - 16.7%

I don’t think it could be easily used in different locations - 16.7%

3. Can the idea be used regardless of the local recycling schemes?

Yes – it doesn’t seem to rely on a particular collection scheme - 66.7%

Possibly – although it might work better under some schemes rather than others - 33.3%

I think it might only work under particular circumstances - 0%

4. How easy would it be to pilot a version of the idea to test it out?

Really easy – ways to test this idea further are already springing to mind - 66.7%

Piloting this idea would be possible but it could take a lot of time and resources - 16.7%

A pilot doesn’t seem easy at this point - 16.7%

5. Overall, how do you feel about this concept?

It rocked my world - 16.7%

I liked it but preferred others - 50%

It didn’t get me too excited - 33.3%

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