An interactive waste bin developed by Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi and a local company. Image Credit: Masdar Institute of Science and Technology

“By recycling a plastic bottle you saved enough energy to run your fridge for over 2 hours without having any negative impact on our environment!” You will get this message when you discard a plastic bottle into an interactive waste bin that you may soon come across in the UAE.

The bin developed by Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi and a local company will further tell you: “By recycling a plastic bottle you saved 10 litres of water.”

When you discard an aluminium can, you will be informed that you have saved enough energy to browse on your laptop for 45 minutes.

The prototype of the bin is ready and the manufacturers are expecting orders from the market for commercial production, a Masdar student and executives involved in the project told Gulf News in an interview.

The bin has four sections — 40 litre individual containers — to receive paper, plastic, metal and general items separately, said Omar Mezier, 22, a second year engineering systems and management student at Masdar.

The steel bin that segregates the waste at source for recycling can add many more electronic features including real time alerts on the quantity of waste and the bin’s remaining capacity by twitter or email.

Recycling companies can arrange to collect the waste from the bins based on the alerts.

The bins deployed in the premises of an institution or in a particular area can be connected as a network of bins via the internet. This will help in tracking the types and quantity of waste discarded, especially in schools and other educational institutions, said Mustafa Nasser, Business Development Manager at WMS Metal Industries LLC, which developed the bin with Masdar Institute.

Accordingly, institutions can run awareness campaigns to reduce particular categories of waste seen to be excessively generated in that location, he said.

The interactive messages and other electronic features can be customised as per requirements.

The internet-enabled functions can work either on Wi-Fi or any other mode of data connection.

Schools or other educational institutions can track the amount of waste recycled by the bin, size up the impact of the recycling success achieved — trees saved [by recycling paper], water and energy etc. — and commend the students for their efforts.

“When you begin to understand the impact of personal action, the students will be excited. We want to see the bin in every school,” Mohammad Nasser, managing partner of WMS, said.

The very idea of the bin is promoting action on a personal level to fight climate change, he said. “There is a lot of information in media on climate change and ozone layer depletion etc. that may not be digestible to all people. And a positive messaging is very important to convey the idea. The bin will not tell you what to do and what not to do. It will tell you the impact of your actions in daily life,” Nasser explained.

Asked about the cost of the product, the executives did not quote an exact price, saying it will depend on the features requested by clients.

“It won’t be more expensive than ordinary bins, because of its local production. All fabrications of the bin will be done locally,” Nasser added.

“We could have added many more features like self-cleaning etc. but then it won’t be commercially viable,” he said.