A group of University of Calgary engineering students hope their simple but practical idea can become a product on store shelves in the future.
The students designed a tiered wastebasket that fits under workplace desks as part of an innovation competition at the university’s Schulich School of Engineering. The basket includes one large bin that has two smaller attachable baskets, making it possible to throw away trash, compost and recyclables at your desk.
Murray Bondy, a fourth-year engineering student in the group, said the idea came easy to his partners, since they had just finished internships in professional offices. The students felt the workplaces didn’t have adequate wastebaskets.
“There’s a space issue, there’s an issue with eating at your desk and throwing away organic waste and recycling into the garbage,” Bondy said.
The wastebasket is called “The Solut1on” and landed the group the top prize in the recent competition. It beat a number of ideas that incorporated more modern technology because it was simple and effective, according to one of the judges.
“I liked the simplicity of the idea, in terms of taking something that is in everybody’s day and improving the processes,” Richelle Matthews, who judged the competition, said. She is the program manager at Calgary Technologies Inc.
“It’s not expensive, it’s not a mental barrier to sort your garbage at your desk, it’s innovative.”
Matthews will now work the group as they begin the process of turning their idea into an actual product. Right now their prototype includes attachable bins made out of cardboard, but they said they hope the entire model will be made out of recyclable plastic once it’s finalized.
“We’re hoping that quite soon we can get rolling on manufacturing and we have some other opportunities for funding in the future coming up so we’re excited for that,” Bondy said.