Recycling bins get creative touches

The public can vote in bin design contest for students aimed at promoting recycling

ITE students Nur Afaf Rusydah Mohammad Taha (left) and Nur Asyura Sallehodin demonstrating how their recycling bin works.
ITE students Nur Afaf Rusydah Mohammad Taha (left) and Nur Asyura Sallehodin demonstrating how their recycling bin works.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

At home, 18-year-old Nur Asyura Sallehodin makes sure she separates items that can be recycled from those which cannot, and keeps them in the storeroom. Once it gets too crowded, she puts them in the recycling bin at the foot of her HDB block.

The Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College East student credits this green habit to her mother, who constantly reminds her children to do what they can to protect the environment.

Now Ms Nur Asyura is sharing her knowledge with her peers in school. Together with 11 other ITE College East students, she has developed a recycling bin with solar- powered lights. "This way it can be visible even at night," she said.

The bin can also be used to charge electronic devices such as mobile phones, and has text in Braille for people who are visually impaired.

It was built for use in homes and corridors in HDB blocks, and is one of more than 60 recycling bins that have been entered into the Schools' Recycling Bin Design Competition 2016. The inaugural competition is organised by the Singapore Environment Council and Coca-Cola Singapore, supported by a US$250,000 (S$336,000) contribution from The Coca-Cola Foundation, the firm's global philanthropic arm.

The aim of the competition - which is open to pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary students - is to find innovative ways to increase the national recycling rate in Singapore.

Teachers and pupils at the Admiralty Link branch of My First Skool kindergarten, for example, have designed a bin using characters from the popular children's show Sesame Street. Each character corresponds to a type of recyclable material, be it paper, plastic, metal or glass.

The kindergarten's deputy centre lead, Ms Hannes Azman, 32, said pupils there are guided to deposit items such as leftover paper from their art activities and empty milk cartons in the bin.

"We think it is good to inculcate this habit in school, and hope that it becomes second nature to them even outside of school," she said.

The public can vote for their favourite recycling bin - out of six shortlisted bins that will be on show at the Green Living exhibition from today to Sunday at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

The winners in the two categories - above 16 years and 16 years and below - will be announced at an awards ceremony on Nov 10 based on votes received from a judging panel and the public.

A trial of the winning designs will be rolled out in selected households and schools next February.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2016, with the headline 'Recycling bins get creative touches'. Print Edition | Subscribe