Greening And Environment

City collaborates to (b)innovate in Doornbach & informal settlement

After years of research, development and collaboration between the City’s Solid Waste Department, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), and residents of the Doornbach informal settlement and ward councillor, a new refuse bin design is being rolled out to the community. These bins have been tailor-made to address the challenges of managing waste in an informal settlement.

Over the coming months, more than 5 000 innovative domestic refuse bins will be installed at households in the Doornbach informal settlement.

More than 1 300 of these bins have already been installed since May, and the rollout is scheduled to be completed in September. This rollout marks an eagerly awaited milestone in a collaboration between the City’s Solid Waste Management Department, CPUT, and the Doornbach community, to produce a design-based solution to waste management challenges. A key aspect to the project has been extensive community-led engagement, and each of the bin design specifications were informed by input from residents.

The bins have been designed to respond to the waste management challenges typically encountered in informal settlements, which include shortage of space, odours, pests and stray animals, as well as high levels of bin theft and bin vandalism.

A prototype was tested in Doornbach at households selected by the community leadership, and feedback from this pilot informed adjustments to the design. Tweaks to the dimensions and composition were effected, allowing the project to move to the next phase – scaled-up production and rollout, which has provided job opportunities for locals. Doornbach is the first informal settlement to receive these bins, and once the installation here has been completed, the City will expand this product incrementally to other informal settlements.

The user-centric design features the following specifications:

· Elevated position, above ground-level, fixed to a wooden gum pole, which is cemented in the ground. The height needed to make it inaccessible to small children, but low enough for bigger children helping with household chores. Elevation also addresses water drainage challenges and stray animals.

· Curved base and slanted lid mean that it can’t stand firmly on the ground, reducing likelihood of theft due to the impracticality of alternative use.

· designed to hold City-issued ‘blue bags’ securely by attachment to a lip.

· Made entirely of tough rotationally moulded linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE). This material has little or no scrap value.

· Can store up to 80 litres of domestic refuse.

· Has an angled lid for weather resistance and rainwater runoff. Secure lid prevents vermin access.

· Cleansing teams will empty these bins weekly.

“This project represents one of the most exciting initiatives seen in the solid waste management space for years. Exploring this design-based solution stemmed from Cape Town being awarded the title of World Design Capital for 2014,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Waste, Alderman Xanthea Limberg.

“The response by the community has been extremely positive, and while the rollout commenced fairly recently, there has already been a noticeable reduction in dumped domestic refuse. These are encouraging signs that both communities and the environment could stand to benefit from the rollout of these bins,” added Xanthea Limberg.

Ward Councillor Lubabalo Makeleni welcomed the rollout of the bins.”What I like about this whole project is that the community leaders were part and parcel of it, right from the onset,” said Councillor Makeleni.

“Thank you to all pioneer stakeholder residents, ward councillor, CPUT and City staff, who have remained committed throughout the process, from concept to reality. A core priority of the collaborative approach was to promote a sense of ownership, and the response thus far indicates that the teams succeeded in those efforts. It was important that neither the City, nor our partners in academia, dictated the process and specifications. Instead, residents were encouraged to guide the participatory design based on their experience, needs, and desired outcome.

The City will continue to service the bins and issue fresh bags on a weekly basis, and looks forward to seeing continued progress in cleanliness, convenience, and partnership,” said Alderman Xanthea Limberg.

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