- France-based trash can manufacturer Uzer has developed a "smart bin" dubbed Eugene that has the ability to scan packaging barcodes and tell consumers if the waste should be recycled or landfilled.
- The trash can also comes with an app so consumers can track the waste they've scanned. The app allows users to build a shopping list based on items that were thrown away while also staying informed on how much waste they've created.
- While the bin is still in a prototype stage, Uzer intends for Eugene to hit the market in late 2017. If the product is successful in France, it has the potential to inspire the U.S. government to integrate smart cans into its Smart Cities Challenge, according to Business Insider.
Smart bins are not a new concept in waste management as companies like Bigbelly, Compology and Enevo have already developed unique technologies to help the traditional trash can evolve. The concept of a barcode scanner, however, is a new innovation for the trash can and may help both consumers and packaging manufacturers become more involved in waste reduction.
Uzer CEO Clement Castelli told Engadget that with the barcode scanning technology, there is an opportunity for manufacturers to incentivize the use of the technology with discounts on products depending on how much consumers recycle them. This opportunity will not only educate consumers on what is and isn't recyclable and encourage waste diversion, but it may also encourage manufacturers to actually develop recyclable products to be used in the system.
International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) President Antonis Mavropoulos recently explained the importance of implementing more technology and data into the somewhat "outdated" waste industry, and Uzer's product is a step in the correct direction. It is expected that the industry will see more advanced technologies — such as robots and driverless garbage trucks — as the industry evolves.