Kenyan innovator unveils garbage ATM, says to install 40 in Nairobi

A sample of the garbage ATMs to be installed in Nairobi streets. /COURTESY
A sample of the garbage ATMs to be installed in Nairobi streets. /COURTESY

A Kenyan innovator has come up with a new garbage ATM to ease Nairobi's waste management challenges.

Lulu Ahmed of Next Level Escalating Enterprise said at least 40 of the high-tech bin will be installed in the CBD.

She said street children will be involved in the collection of the garbage from residents. No fees will be charged.

The machine, shaped like a refrigerator, is a ‘reverse’ vending machine that has two bowls on both ends.

When someone deposits garbage in the machine, it weighs and classifies the same and issues a prize voucher.

On one side, people will deposit organic waste while the other bowl will be for recyclable waste like plastics.

The machine has a sensor to identify the kind of waste deposited.

For example, when waste is deposited on the wrong bowl, it will be rejected and a pointer will direct the client to the right bowl.

It also has a screen meant for corporate adverts as one way of generating income for the project's sustainability.

"At least this can provide entertainment to the street families or even news," Lulu told the Star yesterday.

Also see:

According to the National Environmental Complaints Committee, Nairobi generates 2,475 tonnes of waste daily, of which 270 tonnes are not collected.

Lulu says the machine will not only improve waste recycling but also create jobs for the street families.

The innovator said she developed the concept but the machine was built in Turkey after the University of Nairobi city capacity constraints.

"I went to China, sold my concept but they asked me to wait for at least six months. It is until I consulted further that I got a company that understood my invention at Izmir in Turkey and the engineers agreed to work on my idea," she said.

Lulu says the machine will go a long way in reducing petty crimes and the number of beggars in the same streets.

"We are identifying supermarkets where the vouchers can be redeemed in kind. The waste will be recycled and sold to make the programme sustainable."

City Environment chief officer Isaac Muraya said the county welcomes all the efforts towards solving the waste management problem.

NEMA director general Geoffrey Wahungu said the innovation is timely adding that the authority appreciates the deployment of the green technology.

"We welcome its use as long as the actual operation and installation meet legal requirements, especially those set by Kenya Bureau of standard (KEBS) and NEMA."

Also read: