Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Encouraging waste management, recycling through bin of the future

Encouraging waste management, recycling through bin of the future

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
With the support from USAID’s Development Innovations Cambodia initiative and automation company ArrowDot, Kieng Yang and Sok Pisey’s project aims to make waste disposal easier for average Cambodians. Photo supplied

Encouraging waste management, recycling through bin of the future

Two young Cambodians have built a smart bin that is set to encourage more effective waste management and recyling to help tackle the Kingdom’s mounting rubbish problem.

With support from USAID’s Development Innovations Cambodia initiative and automation company ArrowDot, Kieng Yang and Sok Pisey’s project aims to make waste disposal easier for average Cambodians.

Their smart bin prototype was displayed at the Product Innovation Programme Final Presentation (PIP) at the ArrowDot Center last month, as well as at a recent STEM exhibition at Preah Sisowath High School’s New Generation School.

Yang is a 10th grade student at the school, which has an innovative curriculum focused on communications technology, as well as a science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

The 16-year-old is working in collaboration with 30-year-old IT specialist Pisey, who shares his interest in environmentally responsible innovation.

Before settling on their smart bin, the pair researched previously successful smart innovation projects from around the globe.

“The world faces global warming as a result of waste and pollution, and oceans are filled with trash and plastic. Our biodiversity is dying and so will humans. It is a matter of reducing and managing the waste. We must recycle what we can.

“Other countries also have smart bins, but this one was adapted in accordance with the situation here. It will be smart and easy to use,” Yang said speaking to The Post at PIP in June.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Their smart bin prototype was recently displayed at the Product Innovation Programme Final Presentation at the ArrowDot Center and at a STEM exhibition at Preah Sisowath High School’s New Generation School. Photo supplied

“In Cambodia people still have limited knowledge in terms of how to arrange their rubbish. It is also hard for garbage collectors,” he added, referring to junk collectors who rifle through rubbish to find recyclable tins and plastic for a living.

“Plastic waste and metal junk can be recycled. Some can be reused for daily purposes or decorations. Some can be ground, melted and printed into something else.”

Their smart bin will help by automatically categorising rubbish into different categories, with it initially able to distinguish between plastic and metal. Their project is also aimed at increasing recycling in Cambodia and raising awareness about the impact of waste.

The pair were also trained in a product innovation programme, a five-month funded training for 30 talented individuals selected to study electronics and programming, robotics, computer and mobile apps, design and development machinery, 3D printing and laser cutting.

“As part of the programme, we initially studied the fundamentals of Arduino programming, an introduction on how to write code, logic controllers, essential mechanisms, components, sensors, boards and product design. We also needed to learn about electronic components,” Yang said.

After three months of learning, the selected trainees had to come up with their final project, with Yang and Pisey producing their smart bin prototype.

The smart bin prototype is 75cm by 50cm, has one hole and a small screen.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Discarded waste is automatically divided into plastic and metal, with users awarded a complimentary discount shopping coupon if they answer a question that appears on the screen correctly. The screen also tells you whether the bin is full or not.

The small prototype cost the pair nearly $200 to make and it can hold up to 20 cans. Its ability to distinguish between plastic and metal has proved 100 per cent accurate so far.

“I’m very happy. Words cannot describe my feelings because I have never been part of such a big project like this.

“We’ve been told that our topic is very interesting and important and can help to increase recycling and proper waste management.

“When we finally made it work and function well, we were so excited that we shouted with joy. When it was displayed at PIP, we got a lot of positive feedback. They said they believe our product is a great idea for the future. Their compliments encouraged us to work harder,” Yang said.

Going forward, Yang and Pisey have big ambitions to tackle Cambodia’s waste problem on larger scale.

“Following this project, we plan to make a waste management system that is able to categorise waste in large factories on an industrial scale,” Yang said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of

  • 61% of 2022 imports came from just 3 markets

    The three largest exporters to Cambodia – mainland China, Vietnam and Thailand – accounted for 60.94 per cent of the Kingdom’s total merchandise imports last year, at $18.245 billion, which was up 11.99 per cent over 2021, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise. Cambodia’s total imports