The challenge of waste disposal is daunting, what if we made it smart?

WasteLocker, a solution that offers data gathering and analysis of trash containers for improved waste management, is an EIT Community New European Bauhaus Ideathon Award winner. They are one of four winners eligible to take home the Grand Jury Award, selected by the Joint Research Centre, and featuring a prize of €10,000. The winner will be announced at the upcoming Ideathon Awards Ceremony, taking place during the New European Bauhaus Festival.

Do you know which trash can be recycled and which bin it should go into? Do you know where your trash ends up? Research into these questions has revealed many uncomfortable truths, namely, that a large amount of garbage gets incinerated or shipped off to countries like Malaysia where it is sometimes illegally dumped or burned. Additionally, many Europeans struggle to properly dispose of their garbage and less than half of EU household waste is recycled. According to Politico, “In Germany, between 40 per cent and 60 per cent of plastic waste gets thrown into the wrong bin. In Ireland, almost 50 per cent of the organic household waste is put into the wrong bin.”

Five entrepreneurs, Mark Skljarov, Kristjan Variksoo, Hannes Härm, Karlis Goldstein and Jan Erik Praks decided to combine their creativity and skillsets at the 2021 EIT Climate-KIC Climathon in Tallinn, Estonia. Together, they founded WasteLocker, whose concept came about through the team’s shared acknowledgment that the area of post-consumer products—the waste stream—is poorly understood. 

The WasteLocker team posited that additional transparency and verifiability of the waste would reveal valuable insights about how it’s generated. And by providing this data on sorting and consumption patterns, they could try to help people act more responsibly and change social norms.  In this case, ‘acting more responsibly’ means not only improving sorting habits, but also reducing overconsumption. Additionally, information about the subsequent journey to the landfill, incinerator or recycling centre—or beyond—has the potential to change policies. 

WasteLocker was designed as a sensor to monitor, document and track container waste right at the source and leverages a dashboard to showcase waste volume, type and contamination level. The solution is geared towards empowering individuals, businesses and governments to deploy more sustainable habits, processes and policies respectively.

By the end of 2022, WasteLocker aims to deploy its solution in three to five cities, at the individual, apartment union or municipal level. Subject to additional funding, the goal is to cover 250,000 points of waste generation in three years, making up 200,000 households and 50,000 companies across the EU.

WasteLocker won a Jury Award and is up for the Grand Jury Award at the forthcoming EIT Community New European Bauhaus Ideathon Awards Ceremony.

“We are very grateful to be recognised by the EIT Community New European Bauhaus, especially since we are geared towards smart cities that are on the path of becoming climate neutral and circular,” said Mark Skljarov.

More information on how to register for the EIT Community New European Bauhaus Ideation Awards Ceremony is available here.

Watch the WasteLocker pitch here:

 
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