Smart bins: Tackling Kenya's garbage menace


Eddy Gitonga, the inventor of T-Bin showcases the high-tech garbage bin at Juja City Mall in Kiambu. PHOTO | CAROLINE WAMBUI | NMG

As cities grow, tonnes of garbage are generated every day. Across most waste management is, however problematic with numerous illegal dumpsites that can go uncollected for weeks. In most cases, the proper disposal facilities are not provided and where they are available, they are few and far between.

This did not sit well with Eddy Gitonga. Eight years ago he decided to do something about this sorry state of affairs and invented an intelligent solar-powered bin that promises to solve the garbage menace.

His T-bins educate residents on how to correctly dispose of rubbish, light up streets, and offer free Wi-Fi. “The bin comprises some twin digital screens that educate the public on how to dispose of different types of waste correctly and responsibly,” he says.

“When one approaches, the inbuilt proximity sensor prompts a voice message on where one should dispose of what waste. Sequentially, the message appears on the smart screens. The inbuilt Wi-Fi assists users to map out digital opportunities,” he says adding that the street lighting enhances security.

To refine the innovation, he invested Sh300,000 after spending eight years researching the different waste systems across the world. It was also a tedious process that would often see him transport the prototype bin to different exhibitions and conference centres.

Disability friendly

Today, he has three full-time employees and over 25 casual workers. He has sold over 50 units with a unit going for Sh150,000.

Mr Gitonga targets schools, hospitals, shopping malls airports, bus and railway stations, stadiums, public spaces, restaurants, business centres, and gated communities.

He further plans to have a workshop that will enable him to build more T-bins.

“The bin has an advantage as it has an audiovisual capability aspect that aids disabled people. The bin communicates with the deaf on the mounted digital smart screens and with the blind on proximity sensors that prompts a voice directive for waste disposal. The waste collected is additionally transported separately for the recycling process,” Mr Gitonga adds.

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