Reducing litter, boosting retail industry

Mr Jason Kumar (left), co-founder of technology firm Terra Sol, and Orchard Road Business Association (Orba) executive director Steven Goh showing the uses of one of the solar-powered Bigbelly "smart" bins in Orchard Road yesterday. Each bin can crun
Mr Jason Kumar (left), co-founder of technology firm Terra Sol, and Orchard Road Business Association (Orba) executive director Steven Goh showing the uses of one of the solar-powered Bigbelly "smart" bins in Orchard Road yesterday. Each bin can crunch rubbish, giving it eight times the capacity of a normal bin. And when these bins fill up, they can send e-mail or text message alerts to their cleaners. The bins are also Wi-Fi spots, allowing people to surf the Web and receive pop-up ads from nearby retailers. They are part of a three-month pilot trial by Terra Sol and Orba. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Meet the new "smart" bins. They can take you places.

They act as Wi-Fi spots with tips on where to shop, and send alerts when they need to be cleared.

Powered by the sun, 10 of these mini-trash compactors have been placed along the 500m outdoor pedestrian walkway between Wisma Atria and Mandarin Gallery in Orchard Road. The 1.3m-tall Bigbelly smart bins, part of a three-month pilot trial launched yesterday by technology firm Terra Sol and the Orchard Road Business Association (Orba), will be up and fully running by the end of the week.

Shoppers will be able to log on to the bins' Wi-Fi network, which is provided by StarHub, using their Facebook or Weibo accounts... The bins let you surf the Web for 15 minutes after which you must log in again.

Each has a compactor that can crunch rubbish, giving it eight times the capacity of a normal bin. And when these dustbins start to fill up, their sensors can detect it and send e-mail or text message alerts to their cleaners' cellphones.

Imported from the United States, the bins are also solar-powered and can store power for periods when there is no sunlight.

Shoppers will be able to log on to the bins' Wi-Fi network, which is provided by StarHub, using their Facebook or Weibo accounts. A bin's Wi-Fi has a coverage radius of 30m, and surfing speeds of between 10Mbps and 20Mbps.

The bins let you surf the Web for 15 minutes after which you must log in again. The free Wi-Fi will be available from 11am to 9pm daily. Those logged on to the Wi-Fi network may see advertisements from retailers located nearby popping up on their screens.

Mr Steven Goh, executive director of Orba, said these higher-capacity bins could reduce litter while providing retailers with another way to promote their brands.

A 125-litre Bigbelly smart bin with sensors costs around $3,000 - not including other features like Wi-Fi.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2016, with the headline 'Reducing litter, boosting retail industry'. Print Edition | Subscribe