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In Kenya, a high tech trash bin invented to boost recycling

A woman using the T-bin in Kiambu, Kenya, May 2022.   -  
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AP Photo


According to the World Bank, an estimated 2,400 tons of solid waste is generated in Nairobi every day, 20% of which is in plastic form. Most of it ends up at the Dandora rubbish dump, a huge mountain of trash where all garbage is mixed. But a high-tech trash bin is aiming to turn the tide. It has been set up outside Juja City Mall in the north of the Kenyan capital.

"The T-bin is a smart intelligent waste bin that is supposed to educate people on how to separate waste from source, to minimize 95 percent of the waste that ends up in dump sites and increase recycling activities, which will be an economical advantage to our young people and to our country." explains Eddy Gitonga, inventor of the T-bin who calls himself an "environpreneur".

The Tech bin is powered by solar panels and along with getting access to information about waste disposal, users can get free Wi-Fi."This machine is very nice, I really like it and what about it I like is, whenever I come here I dispose my waste without payment and I get free Wi-Fi without any disturbance.", comments Joseph Nicholas outside the shopping mall in Kiambu.

This first T-bin was displayed in 2021. Since then, an average of 300 people have been using it daily, according to its inventor. "Before the T-bin arrived, we used to put all the waste that we were getting from the offices, from the restaurants, in one pack, and in one place. So, there was a mixture of all types of plastics, paper bags, there is the waste from the restaurants but with the T-bin we are able to separate the waste, and the T-bin it has an advantage because it has free Wi-fi", says Pensquella Wangeci, manager Juja City Mall in Kiambu county Kenya.

This invention will surely help Kenya deal with plastic and waste management. In addition to banning the manufacture and use of polythene bags in 2017, the government introduced a ban on single-use plastics in "protected areas" in 2021. But according to the sales and marketing director of plastic packaging manufacturer Packaging Industries Limited in Kenya, the demand has not been shut down and plastic bags are still illegally imported from neighbouring countries such as Uganda or Somalia.

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