Human Centred Design Bins (HCD Bins)

There is limited segregation of waste, and poor infrastructure/environment around waste management (includes disposal). This intervention makes segregation at source easy and intuitive. We are currently using cartons, hence we are not including the segregation of wet waste into the scope of this bin.

Why don’t existing bins work:

  • They do not encourage segregation, even the colour coded ones
  • Colour coded bins are not based on a standard colour coding, hence creating a need for the user to understand the process in all the places they go to
  • They are usually opaque, meaning one cannot know if the segregation is being done correctly
  • They are short, and not at eye level. This means it gets lost in the midst of people.

Why the HCD Bin works:

  • Tall, and hence visible – mounting HCD bins on the telephone poles in Church Street increased waste disposal by almost 100%. People could from any point see at least 9 bins on both sides of the road.
  • Transparent chambers make it easy for the user to understand what kind of waste to put into which partition.
  • Keeping the segregation rules simple – paper vs plastic, bottles vs covers etc. make using this bin easier. More types of waste inside a partition, unless noticeably different from the adjoining partition will create confusion in the user.
  • Transparency allows the support staff to understand if a bin needs cleaning
  • Large opening in the back along with a partition in the centre ensures that waste doesn’t flow out of the outlet and get mixed.
  • Different shaped inlets forces the user to segregate. In one experiment in NH7 (music festival), we put a smashed can of beer into the slot (designed to take paper waste).

  • Users noticed this and spent effort smashing their used cans and put it into this partition
  • Even when the notice on top of the bin indicated that it was meant for another type of waste, the users ignored this. The few who read the notice on top of the bin got extremely confused and in the end, followed the segregation system what the others had followed

The HCD Bin construction:

Step 1: Use cartons (used once) and convert these into bins so that they get a longer second life as a bin

Step 2: An acrylic sheet (2 mm) is used to form the transparent window, as this is a very strong and durable material. In case of disposal, this fetches a higher value.

Step 3: Strips of cardboard and plastic tags are used to hold the transparency sheet into place with the carton without leaving spaces/gaps. Refer to the photo below to understand how plastic tags hold the acrylic sheet and carton strips in place:

Mount the transparent windows, carton strips, and plastic tags

  1. Cut enough of the acrylic sheet to cover the carton’s front windows from edge to edge.

  2. The plastic is stuck to the carton from the inside with super glue.

  3. 1 or 2 inch strips of carton are cut from weak cartons and stuck on to the acrylic sheet.

  4. Use the drill gun to make holes as shown in the image (figure 2)

  5. Insert plastic tags from inside the bin (take inside to out, and back through the corresponding hole 2 inches away and lock inside tightly).

  6. Large sheets of newspaper are stuck on the carton to make painting on easier. The newspaper does not cover the openings and windows. The papers also give the bin an aesthetic appearance even if the students choose not to paint on the paper.

How to enhance segregation with the help of HCD Bin:

  1. Connect with a recycler who will take this waste
  2. Provide/ensure at least 2 gunny bags to carry and store segregated waste from the bins to the storage room.
  3. Repeat that this can’t take wet waste as yet. Ensure communication that this bin is for dry waste.
  4. Show the people in charge (support staff) how to use the bin and by clearing it yourself once.
  5. Instruct support staff to be careful of using mops near this. Incase of any doubt, cut and paste the plastic gunny bag on the bottom so as to prevent it from getting wet while mopping.