06 Mar 2017

Rubbish over-spilling from bins could become a problem of the past if a New Brighton trial of new hi-tech solar-powered rubbish bins proves successful.

The new ‘Big Belly’ smart bins distributed by Manco Environmental Ltd are fitted with sensors that can detect when the bins are nearing capacity and send an alert to maintenance contractors that they need emptying. 

Teresa McCallum with Manco's Ben Calvert and the "Big Belly' bin.

The solar-powered bins stop seagulls, wind and pests from accessing the waste and they also have a built-in compactor that crushes the rubbish, giving them a capacity six times greater than a standard waste bin. 

The new bins - the only New Zealand Safety approved compressing bins - are being trialed by Christchurch City Council for the next three months at the Whale Pool playground in New Brighton. Two bins have been installed - one for general rubbish and one for recycling.

"The Council is mindful of implementing smart initiatives that create a better place for people to live now and for future generations to come. To that end, the SmartBin solution trial will engage with local social enterprise company, Our Daily Waste, to provide a full recycling sorting service so that there is no contaminated material going to EcoCentral - the organisation that process Council’s recycling,'' said Teresa McCallum, programme manager for the Council's Smart Cities Programme, which is funding the smart bin trial.

Our Daily Waste would also clean and tidy the Whale Pool and nearby green space area and educate interested members of the public about what items could be recycled and which should go to landfill.

Ms McCallum said if smart bin trial proved successful, the Council might look at introducing the bins at other busy spots around the city.

“The problem maintenance contractors have in high traffic areas like around the beach and playground at New Brighton is that it can be difficult to gauge how often rubbish bins need emptying. If you have a hot day that brings lots of people out the bins can fill very quickly.

“With these new hi-tech bins we can take the guess work out and have information sent in real time to our contractors about when the bins need emptying.

“If they work as we hope they will, we should be able to provide a better level of service to our residents and also reduce the carbon footprint associated with waste collection,’’ Ms McCallum said.

Manco Environmental Ltd Product Manager Ben Calvert welcomed the Council's forward-thinking approach. "It's leading the way in smart technology, it's the first big city council in New Zealand to have these bins but they have them in Melbourne, Dubai and New York."

Coastal-Burwood Community Board Chairperson Kim Money  is stoked the Council has chosen to trial the solar-powered bins in New Brighton and is optimistic they will help address the issue of over-spilling rubbish bins.

"I know it is only two bins but they have six times the capacity of a normal bin so so we're talking about having the equivalent of an extra 12 bins,'' Ms Money said.

Coastal Ward Councillor David East is also extremely pleased by the decision to introduce the bins to New Brighton.  "It's fantastic that Council has come up with a hi-tech solution to what has been an ongoing problem. Hopefully it will spell the end of over-spilling rubbish bins in New Brighton,'' Cr East said.

The ‘Big Belly’ smart bins are also being trialled by the Queenstown Lakes District Council in central Queenstown.