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

June 08, 2022

WasteLocker, a solution that offers data collection and analysis of garbage containers for better waste management, is a winner of the New European Bauhaus Ideathon award from the EIT community. They are one of four winners eligible to win the Grand Jury Prize, selected by the Joint Research Center, and endowed with a prize of €10,000. The winner will be announced at the next Ideathon awards ceremony, which will take place during the New European Bauhaus Festival.

Do you know which bin can be recycled and which bin it should go to? Do you know where your waste ends up? Research into these issues has revealed many uncomfortable truths, namely that a large amount of waste is incinerated or shipped to countries like Malaysia where it is sometimes illegally dumped or burnt. In addition, many Europeans struggle to dispose of their waste properly and less than half of household waste in the EU is recycled. According to Politico, “In Germany, between 40 and 60 percent of plastic waste is thrown into the wrong bin. In Ireland, nearly 50% of organic household waste is thrown into the wrong bin.

Five entrepreneurs, Mark Skljarov, Kristjan Variksoo, Hannes Härm, Karlis Goldstein and Jan Erik Praks have decided to combine their creativity and skills at the Climathon EIT Climate-KIC 2021 in Tallinn, Estonia. Together they founded WasteLocker, the concept of which grew out of the team’s common recognition that the field of post-consumer products – the waste stream – is poorly understood.

The WasteLocker team postulated that additional transparency and auditability of waste would reveal valuable information about how it is generated. And by providing this data on sorting and consumption habits, 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 center – or beyond – can potentially alter policies.

WasteLocker was designed as a sensor to monitor, document and track container waste directly to the source and leverages a dashboard to present waste volume, type and contamination level. The solution aims to empower 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 level of individuals, apartment associations or municipalities. Subject to additional funding, the aim is to cover 250,000 waste generation points in three years, or 200,000 households and 50,000 businesses in the EU.

WasteLocker won a Jury Prize and is in the running for the Grand Jury Prize at the upcoming EIT Community New European Bauhaus Ideathon Awards Ceremony.

“We are very grateful to be recognized by the EIT community’s New European Bauhaus, especially as we are geared towards smart cities that are on the verge of becoming climate-neutral and circular,” said Mark Skljarov.

More information on how to register for the EIT Community’s New European Bauhaus Idea Award Ceremony can be found here.

Watch WasteLocker’s pitch here:

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