Something that I struggle with on a day-to-day basis is recycling while on the move. Like many car-less New Yorkers, I have my in-transport rituals that help me get from point A to point B and often these rituals involve cans of Fresca, bottles of Diet Coke, and/or the day’s newspaper. If I were consuming these items at home disposing of them properly would be a breeze. However, subway platforms and city streets aren’t exactly swarming with recycling bins. Often, I haul newspapers and empty beverage containers around with me all day until I get home or until I locate a random recycling receptacle. Sometimes — if I’m hauling a heavy load or if I have my hands full — I give in and toss that paper or aluminum can or plastic bottle into a public trashcan. Fail.
Less frequently, I find myself wandering city streets trying to unload organic waste
like banana peels, fingernail clippings, rhubarb stems, feathers, and bat guano. But if I were, it would be nice to know that there's a proper place for me to do so.
This is where the concept for the Braun Envi, an “urban dustbin composter,” comes in. Designed by Julien Bergignat, Cecilia Jia, and Johnny Chen, the Braun Envi isn’t something that I expect to see on street corners across NYC (or any city) any time soon, but the “what if?” factor for a public biodegradable waste can is compelling.
After one tosses an apple core or, umm, pet hair inside this mean, lean, stainless steel compostin’ machine, photo catalysis quickly coverts the waste into compost while also eliminating any unsavory odors. The compost then falls into a bin at the bottom of the mini-dumpster that can be removed and emptied when full.
Again, the Braun Envi is just a concept (with some flaws) but the idea behind it is nifty. I can see these working well in parks more so than anywhere else.
Do you think public composting like this could ever catch on in urban areas? I’m curious to see somewhere give it a shot. In fact, there was
a short-lived public worm composter in my neighborhood in Brooklyn: the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Composter
, where passersby could toss in organic waste but “no meat” and “no poop.” Only in Brooklyn…