How to DIY a Human Centred Dustbin

Discover: An innovative Human-Centred Design (HCD) tackles waste segregation challenges through custom bin solutions. Investigating issues like non-standard colour-coding and bin opacity led to innovative transparent window bins. Mounting bins on poles increased waste disposal. This approach diverted 17,817 kgs from landfills across Bengaluru and Chennai, offering a replicable solution for effective waste management.

There are multiple bins available for waste segregation in our cities, yet segregation doesn’t happen at the source because it’s not easy or intuitive. Here’s one way of making it easy to make people dispose waste in bins responsibly:


  • Colour-coded bins lack standardisation, leading users to learn new segregation processes in different locations.
  • Opaque bins prevent users from confirming correct segregation.
  • Short bins placed at lower levels get lost among people.

HCD Bin Design:

  • Notices atop bins meant for specific waste types were ignored or confused users.
  • Mounting bins on telephone poles along Church Street increased waste disposal by nearly 100%.
  • Transparency encouraged users to mimic the proper waste segregation; for instance, a beer can in the paper waste slot led others to do the same.

Steps to Build:

  1. Take a large carton (e.g., from a washing machine) and cut out sizable windows.
  2. Use durable acrylic sheets to create transparent windows on the carton.
  3. Secure the transparency sheet with cardboard strips and plastic tags.
  4. Drill holes as shown in the image and attach the acrylic sheet using plastic tags and super glue from the inside.
  5. Create separate sections inside the bin to prevent waste mixing.
  6. Add large sheets of newspaper to the carton’s surface for easy painting while retaining the windows and openings.

Calculating Impact:

  1. Weigh waste captured in one HCD bin after five days of use.
  2. Divide the weight by five to determine daily usage for one bin.
  3. Impact = (Weight of waste captured in one HCD bin per day) * (Number of bins) * (200 days)


  • Total bins implemented in Bengaluru and Chennai: 52
  • Total waste diverted from landfills: 17,817 kgs
  • All the data accounted for until the year 2019