Thursday 25 May 2017

This Irishman's new invention could change how we all use our wheelie bins

Daire Courtney

Daire Courtney

An Irishman’s wheelie bin invention is going global, and we may see it on the market soon.

Bob O’Connell’s patented wheelie bin design has been nominated for the CIWM Sustainability and Resource Awards in London next week.

Having had trouble finding investment at home, Bob O’Connell is hoping that the nomination and possible award will help him access the UK market and get his invention into production.

“Invention in Ireland is very difficult for individuals. It’s easy for companies, but when an individual has an idea, the attitude is ‘leave it to the universities’,” Mr O’Connell told independent.ie.

The Mi-Bin has two compartments which can be filled and emptied separately but it still the size and shape of a normal bin, which means that it can be lifted by the normal bin lorry equipment.

The bin is intended to combat the issue of ‘bin blight’ in the UK; depending on the area, some UK households are required to have as many as seven separate waste and recycling bins, which is an eyesore and a hazard.

“It’s making people angry, and that contributes to a blasé attitude towards recycling,” Mr O’Connell told independent.ie.

“Recently we’ve seen an 80pc increase in bad recycling which is not sorted properly and ends up having to go to landfills,” he continued.

Mr O’Connell also said that the smaller compartments encourage people to produce less rubbish.

“There are studies that show that when people have too much capacity in their bin, they will fill it. Now, one solution is to have smaller bins – but these aren’t compatible with bin lorry equipment and have to be lifted by hand,” he said.

“Refuse collectors account for 0.6pc of the UK workforce and 2.8pc of workplace accidents, so encouraging the use of bins that have to be carried by workers is a hazard, not a solution.”

The Mi-Bin is not yet in production, but Mr O’Connell is hoping that the award will let UK local councils know about the innovative design.

"Councils provide the bins, but we may also be able to ship them on Amazon and sell to British retailers."

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