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In March 1979, ‘The China Syndrome‘ movie chillingly told the story of an unfolding nuclear power disaster. Incredibly, twelve days after the film’s premiere, there was a partial meltdown of a nuclear reactor at Three Mile Island.

Forty years on, we now have a new ‘China Syndrome’, which is also about an issue we don’t talk about much – what we throw away.

For years and years, we have been told to put recycled plastics and glass into the yellow recycled bins, and green waste into the green bins, and general waste into the red ones. Or some such variation of this theme.

Most of us assume that, having done the right thing, the recycled materials are recycled.

Turns out this is not the case. Less than half of recycled materials are recycled, mainly due to contamination (dirty fast food materials or ketchup bottles).

This issue has become worse, because not only is more material going to landfill, costing local councils ten times more than it should, China has famously refused to take our recycled materials unless they are less than 0.5% contaminated.

Perhaps this is an impending crisis that needed to happen.

We – as a society – needed to get real about recycling. We couldn’t just continue to ship our problem offshore. We needed to come up with a solution to actually recycle our recycling, and educate the community in how to do it.

A sensor for your bin… makes sense

And this is where the idea for BinSense was born.

BinSense technology can ‘smell’ whether recycling materials are contaminated from an innovative sensor added to the bin… hence the name ‘BinSense’. It’s a sensor for your bin that makes total sense.

Using this technology, councils (and larger commercial operations) can detect which recycled bins are contaminated, and which aren’t; not by taking photos as the bins are lifted onto the truck – that’s too late – but as the trucks are driving around the streets.

A platform allows headquarters to see the situation. Home owners and occupants will be able to educate themselves on clean recycling, improving the proportion of materials that are recycled, reducing costs for the councils, lowering landfill and solving the new China syndrome.

Plus, it’s great for the planet.


PHOTO: Landfill by Leonid Danilov from Pexels

More Reading:

BinSense provides a simple autonomous patented method for detecting contamination in recycling bins which enables the prevention of contaminated waste transferring from the residential bin to the collection truck. This ensures the collection truck remains bellow the required levels for recycling waste to be exported or recycled locally.

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