High-tech bins to tackle Sydney’s beach rubbish

A Sydney beachside council has become the latest to trial self-compacting smart bins that run on solar power and inform collection teams when they need emptying.

Northern Beaches Council has installed two of the bins at one of the area’s most popular beauty spots, Shelly Beach.

The initiative follows Waverley Council’s rollout of dozens of smart bins at Bondi Beach and Bondi Junction in late 2016. The bins, provided by Solar Bins Australia, were a success – overflowing bins were eliminated, waste collection was reduced, and less bins were needed in the affected areas.

The Australian-made Yindi Smart bins used at Shelly Beach compact waste to allow maximum capacity and have sensors to measure bin levels and alert collections teams by wifi, 3G or 4G when they are nearing capacity.

The bins are also handle-less, which allows for better hygiene; are made with galvanised plate-steel for durability, and are closed, which prevents local birds such as seagulls and ibises from accessing and disturbing the rubbish.

Smart Beaches project

The Shelly Beach trial, which has no fixed end date, is part of the Smart Beaches project, an initiative that uses innovative technology to increase safety and improve public amenities at beaches.

Michael Regan

The bins will deal with general waste and not recyclables at this point.

Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan said Shelly Beach – which forms part of Cabbage Tree Bay, a protected marine reserve next to North Head – was deliberately chosen as a trial site due to its popularity year round with locals as well as visitors.

He said the smart bins would be of significant benefit to the community.

“No one likes to see piles of rubbish falling out of bins and it can be difficult to keep up with demand at times,” he said.

A spokesperson for Northern Beaches Council told Government News the bins would provide “a greater and more informed level of service for ratepayers” but couldn’t offer exact figures.

“Any cost benefits will be assessed as part of the trial,” he said.

“Council is always looking for new and innovative ways to improve levels of service to our community and we are certainly excited about the benefits these smart bins could bring.”

Improving waste management around Sydney’s beaches and parks is crucial, with bins known to overflow in popular spots and during busy periods such as weekends.

Smart bins should allow councils to collect data and better schedule rubbish collections over time.

Northern Beaches Council will analyse the trial at Shelly Beach before committing to more smart bins across the area.

Smart Beaches has been part funded by the Federal Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs Program and is also being completed in partnership with Lake Macquarie City Council and the University of Technology, Sydney.

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