Why not Intelligent Rubbish Bin?

I was pretty amazed by the suggestions that people send to the Straits Times Forum.

Equip rubbish bins with can holders for the destitute who collect cans

CURRENTLY, there are still old uncles and aunties picking up used cans around the neighbourhood.

Sometimes, it can be heartwrenching to see them stretch their hands into rubbish bins just to eke out a living.

Perhaps the authorities should be able to modify certain rubbish bins to hold cans for the ease of those low-income members of the public.

We may not be able to give them money directly but we can certainly make life easier for them.

Lam Tzyy Sin

I was wondering what exactly is this guy thinking.

*DK talk cock mode on*

No no no…. Mr Lam suggestion is not good enough. We should not stop at just modifying existing rubbish bin. I suggest we should do more for the low income group. Perhaps we should get the Polytechnic and University students to design a highly intelligent rubbish bin.

The Highly Intelligent Rubbish Bin (HIRB for short) will have a sensor that scan all the rubbish that is thrown inside. If the rubbish is a soft drink can, it will separate it from normal rubbish. The HIRB will then proceed to wash, sterilize and crash the can and store it in an air tight container while waiting for someone to come collect it. A neon light sign on the HIRB will then light up and a counter will show the number of can inside the air tight container. A solar panel will be placed on the top of the HIRB so that it will be environmentally friendly.

Since we are at it, why not network all the HIRB together? All the HIRB will be connected to the internet using wireless@sg. The HIRB will send data to the main server. Uncle and aunty can login to the web application and see how many can are available for collection at the HIRB near their homes. They can even use the web application to reserve the HIRB so that they will not make a wasted trip. We can even use SMS to alert the uncle and aunty when there are can in the HIRB that they frequent.

End of the day, the uncle and aunty user experience is most important.

*DK talk cock mode off*

OK, I know he wrote this letter out of care and concern for the low income group that are collecting soft drink can as a source of income. But I can’t help but be sarcastic when I saw such impractical ideas being published on newspaper. Anyone actually thinking up there?

How many rubbish bin are there in Singapore? Are you going to upgrade all? Or just some? How much does it cost to upgrade those rubbish bin? Won’t the money be put into better use if you set up a fund to help the needy?

Can the new rubbish bin solve the problem? No! If you want to solve the problem, then perhaps you should solve it from the roots. Why are the lower income group resorting to collecting soft drink cans from rubbish bin? Are they not earning enough? Is there not enough support for them? Isn’t there already existing schemes that are helping those from the lower income groups? Is it not enough for them?


  1. Makes you wonder about the quality of letters the ST forums get or their editorial skills.

    And your point is right, the author in the letter is merely attacking the symptoms, not the root of the problem. You seen the short film “Nation Builders” ? its about such old folks

  2. I don’t see anything wrong with the suggestion at all. People that come up with ideas are thinking people. And people that dare to voice out their ideas are thinking aloud and brave.

    We should be encouraging a thinking society, think aloud; not just think, and then afraid people like you would flame their ideas and instead choose to just keep quiet and dump the ideas.

  3. Uzyn: Agree with you on the thinking society.

    But I feel that it is not solving the problem via the roots. OK lah. I know I was just being crappy and sarcastic.

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