4 January 2022

Keep missing recycling bin night in the ACT? A local nuclear physicist is here to help

| Damien Larkins
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Curbside bin on suburban Canberra street

It’s a familiar refrain across Canberra: is it recycling bin night tonight? Photo: Supplied.

Tired of forgetting what night to put out each bin on the street for collection? One Canberra scientist was so he put his mind to the problem and he’s sharing his solution with us all.

Everyone knows that horrible, sinking feeling of being woken by the garbage truck rumbling past your house when you’ve forgotten to put out the bins.

It’s an especially common problem during the holiday season when you’re off your usual routine and your bins seem to fill up much faster than normal.

Maybe you rely on your street’s ‘binfluencer’ – that one home that puts their bins out first and always seems to know if it’s recycling week or not.

Canberran nuclear physicist Dr Ed Simpson knows how you feel.

“We had been living in an apartment and didn’t have to worry about when the bins went out,” he says. “But when we moved house I just kept forgetting.”

READ ALSO To the car that parked in front of my bins: an open letter

The addition of a green bin, while good for the environment, only added to Dr Simpson’s dilemma.

“We’re the sort of people who try to reduce waste that we get,” he says. “So we don’t necessarily put the bins out every week.”

The ACT Government updates bin collection schedules for all suburbs on its open-data website.

So during one weekend, Dr Simpson created a program to make that information work for him.

“I wanted to put it in a form that was more useable so I get an alert on my phone when the bins need to be taken out,” he says.

“When the ACT Government updates the data every two weeks, the calendar should get automatically updated.”

The result is the Canberra Waste Collection Calendars site, which lists all Canberra suburbs and lets you subscribe to your local recycling and green bin nights on your Apple or Google calendar.

“I’ve been using it for a couple of months and it mostly seems to be working,” says Dr Simpson.

“If other people want to give it a go, they’re most welcome to.”

If it catches on, he’s considering making using other ACT Government data to create similar reminder systems.

So far, the Canberra bin calendar has been a success.

READ ALSO Belconnen suburbs to trial combined kitchen and garden waste collection service

“There have been occasions when I haven’t put them out because it’s raining, but I don’t think I can be blamed for forgetting,” says Dr Simpson.

It just goes to show that even a nuclear physicist can forget to put out his bins.

“I think that probably makes it more likely to be honest,” says Dr Simpson.

“We just used to forget all the time. It’s probably something everybody does.”

Subscribe to Canberra Waste Collection Calendars or contact Dr Ed Simpson on Twitter.

Original Article published by Damien Larkins on Riotact.

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