Popular beaches in West Sussex, and perhaps more widely across the UK, could become cleaner, thanks to an innovative waste bin designed by a student at the University of East London (UEL).
The BinForGreenSeas project, organised by the GreenSeas Trust (www.greenseas.org.uk) and supported by Arun District Council and its waste contractor Biffa, saw students create designs for an iconic beach waste bin that could help reduce seaside waste by reminding visitors to dispose of their litter carefully. Judging to select a winning design took place at the university last week.
Waste, and particularly plastic, continues to disfigure beaches across the country, and has a major impact on marine environments and related sea life. It’s estimated that around 10m tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the oceans each year, and degradation of plastic can take between 50 and 600 years, depending on the type.
A survey of over 300 UK beaches found that nearly a third of beach waste came from the public, with rubbish from food and drink accounting for at least 20% of all litter collected in the study.
Earlier this month, the government pledged to eradicate all avoidable plastic waste in the UK by 2042. Environmental groups have criticised the proposal for having no legal force.
The students, all first year or second years in their product design course, ranged in age from 19 to 33, and the winning design was produced by Laura-Monica Carusato (19). She received a trophy donated by Biffa.
Describing her design, she said: “The inspiration for the design was the tubes you see on naval ships and in dockyards. I wanted it to be bright, simple and eye- catching, and designed it so it acts like a game, with arrows and a target on the tube to encourage everyone to throw in their litter. I’m so pleased to have won and hope my design can be manufactured to help reduce the amount of litter left on beaches.”
Biffa and Arun District Council have provided funds to help kick-start development of the bin.
The judging panel comprised Fazilette Khan, founding trustee of the GreenSeas Trust, who presented the winner’s trophy; Edina Seiben, GreenSeas Trust project co-ordinator; Biffa business development manager Karen Sherwood; and Darren Wingrove, project manager at Logoplaste Innovation Lab.
They assessed the submitted entries for originality in the design, form and use of materials; effectiveness in attracting attention; potential to carry educational messages; practicality (function and ease of use); serviceability (ease of emptying); and manufacture (production cost, sustainability and durability).
Karen Sherwood commented: “All of the designs submitted showed that a lot of thought had gone into them. “If the winning design goes into production and then onto Arun’s beaches, it should act as a prominent reminder to visitors that they should dispose of litter properly. Every year, Biffa’s cleaning staff collects and disposes of many tonnes of waste that are so thoughtlessly left on Arun’s beaches.”
A spokesperson for Arun District Council stated: “Arun District Council is delighted to be part of this project which should help to raise awareness of such an important issue. It’s vital that our beaches and seas are kept as clean as possible. The winning design is eye-catching and we hope to see the design in production and in use.”
Fazilette Khan added: “We are very excited to have reached this milestone and chosen the winning bin design. Changing behaviour and attitudes towards marine litter, and plastics in particular, is challenging. We’re very hopeful that Laura-Monica’s design will help influence beach-goers to put their rubbish into nearby bins so that it can be recycled or disposed of properly.”
According to Andrew Wright, UEL senior lecturer in product design, the project aimed to encourage thoughtfulness through design. “Our enthusiastic students used design thinking to combat the ecological plight of the sea, aiming to change human behaviour using their creative skills.”
Last October, 20 students from the UEL’s design faculty, and accompanied by representatives of the GreenSeas Trust, Arun District Council and Biffa, collected and analysed litter from the shore line of Littlehampton Beach.
Their study, which included waste composition analysis and use of high tech GPS equipment, helped identify waste materials found at different areas of the beach. This data informed the potential design of a new waste bin, as well as the best locations for bins.
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