Science Technology Just What We Needed Dept: A Smart Recycling Bin By Lloyd Alter Design Editor University of Toronto Lloyd Alter is Design Editor for Treehugger and teaches Sustainable Design at Ryerson University in Toronto. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Lloyd Alter Updated October 11, 2018 ©. Eugene Share Twitter Pinterest Email Science Space Natural Science Technology Agriculture Energy Recycling is hard. You have to put the paper here and the plastic there. How can you possibly tell them apart? You could just have the poster on your fridge that explains what goes in which bin, but that is so old school. Today you need a connected Smart Bin like the Eugene, now being crowdfunded on the French version of Kickstarter with the great name KissKissBankBank. © Eugene Eugene scans the bar code on the package you are throwing away and tells you what to do. Engadget explains: Let's say that you had a microwave meal that you'd eaten and you were about to discard the packaging. Simply wander over to Eugene and scan the product's barcode until the display leaps into life. It'll say, for instance, that the cardboard body and hard plastic tray can be recycled, but the thin film has to go in general waste. Then you can go about your day with the feeling of satisfaction that can only be gained from knowing you're helping not destroy the very planet we live on. It is hard to know where to begin. First of all, it’s not so hard to figure out which goes in what bin in the first place; you don’t need to spend 299 Euros (US$ 328 at time of writing) to get a garbage bin to tell you how. But perhaps worse is this “feeling of satisfaction” that one purportedly gets by taking all the excess packaging of the microwaved meal, the cardboard, the plastic and the film, and separating them. This does not save the planet. © Eugene Of course, there is an app to track what you are throwing out, and add it to your shopping list. Years ago we showed another product that did much the same thing and noted what it is trying to tell us: Buy processed foods with bar codes, which usually does not include seasonal, local, fresh ingredients. Be unimaginative and buy what you bought before instead of experimenting because your phone keeps listing the same things. Packaging is your friend. These are not earth-friendly principles. Instead, we recommend trying to go zero waste, rejecting excessive packaging, using refillable containers, and shopping fresh and local. All of these habits are far smarter (and more sustainable) than a "smart recycling bin."