Sign In

Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

We've Bin Watching You!

View as: Print Mobile App Share:

Bincam's aim is to monitor what people throw away and introduce an element of competition, plus a dose of "name and shame," to try to improve recycling rates and minimize waste.

Photo courtesy of Newcastle University

Newcastle University computer scientists have used a camera phone and Facebook to introduce an element of competition to recycling and minimizing waste.

Newcastle has collaborated with the universities of Lincoln and Duisburg-Essen on the BinCam project, which involves placing a small sensor attached to a camera phone in a kitchen bin that takes a photograph each time the lid is shut. The project also involves setting up a Facebook page, where the images are directly fed, to give users the opportunity to see what they are throwing away. Users can participate in a recycling league, view graphs that chart how well they are recycling, leave comments, and share recycling tips.

Newcastle tested BinCam on five households, and found that after two weeks the bin was emptied fewer times because less was being thrown away and more was being recycled. "There is a 'naming and shaming' element to the experiment although it's fun rather than humiliating," says Newcastle researcher Anja Thieme, who is collaborating on the project with Jack Weeden and Julia Miebach. "At the same time they felt motivated by the online league table to recycle more and improve their rating."

From Newcastle University
View Full Article

Abstracts Copyright © 2011 Information Inc. External Link, Bethesda, Maryland, USA 



No entries found

Sign In for Full Access
» Forgot Password? » Create an ACM Web Account