Solar powered smart bins doing a manly job

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Every morning and evening Manly locals and tourists make the pilgrimage, or stroll rather, from Manly to Shelley Beach along Cabbage Tree Bay and the famous Fairy Bower surf break. Shelley Beach, nestled in a cove, is the only western-facing beach on Australia’s east coast, making it the perfect sheltered spot for a dip or a picnic. Many tourists now flock to the picturesque marine sanctuary, and the transformation of the old kiosk into the trendy Boat House café and restaurant ensures that Shelley is busier than ever. To alleviate the stress upon the tiny secluded beach, the Northern Beaches Council is trialling two solar-powered self-compacting smart bins.

The trial is part of the Smart Beaches Project, a partnership between Lake Macquarie City Council, Northern Beaches Council and the University of Technology Sydney to integrate innovative technologies and smart infrastructure toward the improvement and sustainability of some of NSW’s best coastline.

Smart solar bins hard at work.

Image: Blake Matich

Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan said the smart solar bins were a significant benefit to the community.

The clean energy obtained by the bin’s solar panels is used to compact waste inside the bins, thereby further reducing emissions by the reduction in the number of garbage collections. The Council had previously trialled level sensors in litter bins, but the data was inconsistent.

“Council is always keen to explore avenues to improve waste management around our beaches and parks,” said Regan, “no one likes to see piles of rubbish falling out of bins and it can be difficult to keep up with demand at times.”

Manly locals are an environmentally aware mob, but the famous ferry from Circular Quay to Manly provides a continuous stream of tourists down the Corso and along the scenic stroll to Shelley. While many locals make the pilgrimage with their flat-white filled keep-cups, tourists are often forced to use take away coffee cups; Aussie coffee culture being too strong to resist. The smart solar bins ensure waste produced in the heavily touristed area is taken care of in the cleanest way possible.

The bins were developed locally by Yindi Smart Bins, the word “Yindi” means “the Sun” in the language of the Yindjibarndi people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia.