BINTELLIGENT – garbage, hugs and innovation

This year the biggest festival in Scandinavia, Roskilde Festival, was the scene for a new and innovative way to sort garbage. A group of students from the Danish Technical University (DTU) had developed a waste bin: BINTELLIGENT, which analyzes our garbage and literally tells us if we are doing it good enough. It tells us about the environmental impacts based on correctly sorted garbage which aims to create awareness about waste sorting. By rethinking our waste system the project has taken up the social challenges of H2020

The waste bin is designed by Postdoc. Vincent Edjabou and a group of students, here represented by Cecilie Gudsøe, all from DTU. The idea to design and develop an intellectual waste bin started in Social Lab 18 in April 2018 at the first workshop in Budapest with an international co-creation between all the Social Lab participants. Recently after the workshop Vincent described the ambition was to test and evaluate a newly designed waste bin equipped with sensors. The ultimate goal of a waste sorting system is to obtain cleaner residual resources that can be recycled to substitute raw materials. The aim of the projects was to design and evaluate an innovative method to increase both the quantity and quality of source-sorted solid waste.

Now the project is one of two on-going pilot actions in Social Lab 18 and the project has become closer to fulfill the ambition. At first, the waste bins were developed to be in a “normal” and private kitchen. But when the demo model was tested it was clear that the talking aspect of the waste bin was too disturbing. Vincent and his group of students decided to test the waste bin in a more dynamic environment – Roskilde Festival.

Why the Roskilde Festival? 

The answer was simple according to Cecilie; sorting garbage doesn’t take up much space in our minds when we are at a festival. In 2017 Roskilde Festival generated more than 20 tons of waste and only 18 % was sorted and recycled. Because of that, Roskilde’s ambition is now to sort 10 % more garbage every year. If the festival will achieve the goal, new projects will have to rethink the waste system. 

Every year, the Festival is taking up the challenge of responsible innovation by bringing in projects aiming to contribute to social challenges. This year BINTELLIGENT was one of almost 15 projects at the Festival’s Food Court. Most of the projects are developed at DTU. Roskilde Festival has therefore without a doubt been a good environment to test the project. 

The adjustment of BINTELLIGENT was finished just in time to join the Festival’s food court, and as the pictures illustrate, BINTELLIGENT consists of separate waste bins placed next to each other. On each of the bins, there are buttons you can press and learn more about garbage sorting and also, each of the waste bins illustrates what to put in the waste bins.

BINTELLIGENT consisting of separate waste bins placed next to each other.

During the festival, Vincent, Cecilie, and the other students went around to tell the guests about their project and to get people to try it out.
Vincent tells us that all the guests liked the idea!
By testing the waste bin at a festival and going around seeking to get the guest to participate, the process of the project uses public engagement as an inspiration. None of the guests saw the waste bins as controlling or behavioral regulation in a negative way. And it is clear that an intelligent waste bin like BINTELLIGENT works better in a dynamic environment compared to a private kitchen. After the Festival BINTELLIGENT has not been further developed, but according to Cecilie, she and the other students would like to keep developing the waste bin.

Participants of the Roskilde Festival testing BINTELLIGENT.

By Astrid Lykke Birkving