Back in November we piloted the first version of our smart bin technology in a number of schools, learning a lot in the process about how we would need to modify the design and the underlying technology, as well as some of the associated functionality in order to have a product relevant for a much wider market. I am pleased to say that we now have that product along with some amazing corporate clients who are piloting this in their offices over the coming months.
The photo below is deliberately taken side on, as we are still remaining a little coy about exactly how the bin works - we are not ready for full publicity on this innovation just yet. The key feature to be aware of is that the flap within the lid remains locked and only opens for eligible items, thereby ensuring that only the correct type of containers are put into the bin. The new version operates at over five times the speed of the first prototype and is a much cleaner design more suited to offices. That said, there is no reason why this technology couldn't be applied in any non kerbside location where recycling bin contamination is a problem. Primarily we see it being used in offices, shopping centres, factories and schools, but we have been asked about festivals and other public area spaces and this could also work. Reverse Vending Machines do a good job within the container deposit scheme today, but the market for Charopy is any location where a full RVM is not viable due to size or cost constraints.
For offices, the bin above is simply plugged into the wall (photo above is a 120 litre wheelie bin, but we also have a 240 litre version). If desired it can run on a battery, and we are even looking into a solar powered option. The technology can also be customised as part of an office fitout to be incorporated more elegantly into existing waste disposal infrastructure. We see this latter option being of particular interest not only to large office buildings, but for shopping centres where effective recycling in food courts presents some unique challenges, where there is a high number of single use drink containers sold, but where wheelie bins may not be suitable.
There is no doubt that the problem we are working to solve is a very real problem, and the early support we have received from people working in large companies with job titles like Head of Sustainability has been very heartwarming. It is great to be already working with some forward thinking companies who know that it is little use talking about sustainable practices if the waste created within their own office is not being recycled in the best possible way. Charopy is all about creating a highly effective method for separating specific items at source, or initial point of collection. That philosophy is summed up well in this quote from the EPA website
Source separated recyclables historically provide the cleanest materials with the highest revenues when sold. Effective source separation supports the highest and best use of materials and cleaner feedstock for producing recycled materials because there is less contamination.
When we first started working with schools on improving recycling outcomes via increased container deposit scheme adoption we saw some huge results, so we are quietly confident of having a similar impact with other non kerbside locations using this new technology.