Back in April, I blogged about the 4th Bin design contest, a call for designers around the world to create both a logo and a recycling container to be used for electronic waste-specific recycling first in New York City and eventually across the country. As I mentioned in that first post, the U.S. generated 2 million tons of e-waste in 2005 with 250,000 tons of it coming from NYC alone. I myself am dealing with an e-waste issue: my digital camera just bit the dust (RIP) and I’m holding on to it for proper disposal.

Just last week, the winners of the 4th Bin contest were announced. I’m not going to hold my breath for these winning designs to make an immediate appearance in my Brooklyn apartment building but I’m hoping to use them sometime in the hopefully not-too-distant future.

Let’s take a look shall we?

The winning design for the e-waste bin is called “Expand Recycling” and comes from the Dutch firm, Springtime. Here’s a run-down from the designers:

The 4th bin is intended to stand in the common recycling area for apartment and office buildings. The facility manager regularly moves the recycling containers to the curbside and just does the same with the 4th bin when it is full. A transmitter and a sensor in the 4th bin alerts the recycling company when it is moved from the original spot. So the recycling company can customize the pickup routes and work more efficiently.

The whole ECYCLE-system consists of the 4th bin for recyclable electronics and a vehicle for manual collection of reusable electronics.

The expandable 4th bin:

• Takes up only the space that is necessary for its content.
• The low starting mode and gradually increasing height of the bin allows a low drop for fragile electronics.
• The expansion gives visual feedback to the facility manager.
• A maximum size bin means it needs to be emptied.
• The RFID locking system ensures that only residents with a valid RFID tag can open the bin.
• A designated person has a special access tag that also unlocks the wheels.
• The main material is Biopregs®, an environmentally friendly biocomposite that can be folded to create the two main parts of the bin.
• Electronics requires gentle emptying in the pickup vehicle. This is solved with a reusable bag which is lifted out of the bin with a crane and placed carefully in a pallet container on the vehicle.
• The bag is made of a heavy duty fabric with a chemical proof coating.


Taking first place for the e-waste logo design part of the contest is New York City’s Two Twelve. Explain the designers:

Using a modern interpretation of arrows in rotation to create the perimeter of an electrical outlet, this bold and whimsical graphic icon creates an immediate connection between electronics and recycling.
A hearty congrats to the winners and all of the finalists. My busted digital camera can’t wait to meet you.

Via [TreeHugger]


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