Trash Bin Educates Reluctant Recyclers

Trash Bin Educates Reluctant Recyclers

The can has been designed in an effort to increase recycle rates in France

Jennifer Passas
  • 19 october 2016

Last year a report from a French consumer watchdog reported that the country’s recycling rates were ‘disastrous’ and well below that of its European neighbors. To combat the issue a startup called Uzer has designed a smart trash bin that tells you what can be recycled and track what you are consuming. With the mechanics of a pedal bin and the addition of a barcode scanner the device could help France out with its reluctance to recycle.

The smart trash can, named Eugene, can decipher exactly what products can and cannot be recycled. For example, if you waved the barcode of a microwave meal by it, Eugene would let you know that the cardboard body and hard plastic tray can be recycled, but the thin film has to go into general waste.

The device comes with its own smartphone app that offers additional features to track your consumption. The app keeps track of everything you’ve thrown away and can add items to a shopping list for your next trip to the grocery store or can add them directly to your online food order making it easy to replenish your home with the foods you enjoy.

uzer trash bin

The CEO of Uzer, Clément Castelli, would like push the mission of the device further by partnering with brands that may want to incentivize use of the system with discounts based on how much of their products you recycle.

Unfortunately, Eugene is still in the prototype stage and isn’t expected to be released well into 2017. The cost for Eugene is estimated at £299 now, but this could change in time.

Interestingly, the name of the device has a fascinating history. In 1884, politician Eugene Poubelle decreed that all Parisians had to dump their trash in specialized cans. Resentful locals started to call the garbage bins la Poubelle, which over time became the official French term for trash. Hopefully over time Eugene can become as prominent as the word poubelle and be a catalyst for increased consumption awareness and recycling rates in the nation.


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