As part of National Recycling Week in the UK, a pilot urban innovation project was presented recently in London which highlights the possibility of increasing the organic waste recycling rate by around 40%.

The project, driven by the Londoners’ Lab program, aims to improve the organic waste recycling rate and is implemented through a novel smart waste bin named “Bin Pal” developed by Ferrovial Services together with Amey, Greater London Authority, University College London and Future Cities Catapult.

The project’s goal was to support London’s goal of enhancing its recycling rates, specifically in connection with organic household waste. Greater London Authority (the administrative authority for the greater metropolitan area) aims to achieve a household recycling rate of 65% by 2030, and a carbon emissions-free city by 2050. Organic waste poses a specific challenge for the city: the United Kingdom generates 7 million tons of organic waste (food, beverages…) and disposing of it in landfills is particularly harmful for the environment.

To improve citizens’ awareness and commitment to recycling, the Londoners’ Lab program invited them to design the initiative for their local community. The program’s citizen involvement aspect hinged on residents participating in the design. Due to the use of technology and visual elements, citizens were made aware of the importance of recycling food waste in order to enhance waste triage at source.