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Popular beaches in West Sussex, and perhaps more widely across the UK, could become cleaner, thanks to an innovative waste bin designed by a student at the University of East London (UEL).

The BinForGreenSeas project, organised by the GreenSeas Trust ( and supported by Arun District Council and its waste contractor Biffa, saw 9 students create designs for an iconic beach waste bin that could help reduce seaside waste by reminding visitors to dispose of their litter carefully. Judging to select a winning design took place at the university.

Winning Design

The students, all in their first year of their product design course, showcased innovate and forward thinking designs using 3D models, accompanied by their presentations. The winning design, produced by 19 year old, Laura Monica Carusato, takes its inspiration from the ventilation shafts of the majestic passenger liners of a bygone era. “It’s designed so people don’t just place or drop plastic waste in the bin, they throw it in, so it becomes fun, something children and adults can enjoy, like playing basketball.”

The judging panel comprised of Fazilette Khan, founding trustee of the GreenSeas Trust, who presented the winner’s trophy; Edina Seiben, GreenSeas Trust project coordinator; Biffa business development manager Karen Sherwood; and Darren Wingrove, project manager at Logoplaste Innovation Lab.They assessed the designs for originality in the design, form and use of materials; effectiveness in attracting attention; potential to carry educational messages; practicality (function and ease of use); serviceability (ease of emptying); and manufacture (production cost, sustainability and durability).

“We are very excited to have reached this milestone and chosen the winning bin design, said Fazilette Khan. “Changing behaviour to stop people leaving their litter on beaches or discarding it into waterways is challenging. We are optimistic this bin design will help do just that,”

Dispose Of Litter Properly

Karen Sherwood commented: “All of the designs submitted showed that a lot of thought had gone into them. Laura’s prototype won for its originality of design, ease of use, and because it would be practical to clean and empty. Every year, Biffa’s cleaning staff collects and disposes of many tonnes of waste that are so thoughtlessly left on Arun’s beaches.” A spokesperson Arun Council said, “It’s vital that our beaches and seas are kept as clean as possible. The winning design is eye-catching and we hope to see the design in production and in use. We are hopeful that Laura’s design will help influence beach-goers to put their rubbish into nearby bins so that it can be recycled or disposed of properly.”

According to Andrew Wright, UEL senior lecturer in product design, the project aimed to encourage thoughtfulness through design. “Our enthusiastic students used design thinking to combat the ecological plight of the sea, aiming to change human behaviour using their creative skills.”

 Beach Study

Last October, 20 students from the UEL’s design faculty, and accompanied by representatives of the GreenSeas Trust, Arun District Council and Biffa, collected and analysed litter from the shore line of Littlehampton Beach. Their study, which included waste composition analysis and use of high tech GPS equipment, helped identify waste materials found at different areas of the beach. This data informed the potential design of a new waste bin, as well as the best locations for bins.

Students hit the beach to design a behaviour-changing bin

 Green Seas Trust Logo croppedCharity and University team up to tackle plastic pollution in the sea

London design students will descend onto East Beach in Littlehampton, West Sussex, next Tuesday 24 October to analyse and quantify litter, as part of a project to design and install a behaviour-changing bin that will encourage beach users to take the issue of ocean pollution seriously.

The 20+ students, from the University of East London (UEL), are working with charity GreenSeas Trust to create a bin that is not only functional but also a work of art aimed at changing people’s attitudes towards litter, particularly plastics.

Arun District Council is also on board to help the project with the siting of the bin, along with Biffa, whose municipal division handles local waste. Their staff will empty the bin and recycle the plastic waste collected.

The United Nations estimates that if humanity does not change its ways, there could be more plastic in the oceans than fish by 2050*, and much of the problem is down to people not binning their litter, according to GreenSeas Trust.

Fazilette Khan, charity trustee, says that one of the problems is that although many beaches are equipped with bins, people don’t use them. “We need to make people aware of the problem of ocean pollution, so we are asking the design students, with their young minds and different ideas, to come up with a bin that will educate people as well as collect their litter.”

On the day, the UEL students will split into two teams: one will study the location and assess wind and environmental conditions at the site, while the other team will use GPS technology to survey the area and capture the types and location of litter found on the beach. The results of the studies will inform the design for the bin, which is expected to be installed at the beach next Spring.

Paul Lighterness, Programme Leader, Product Design at the University of East London, said: “The collaboration between product design students at the University of East London and the charity GreenSeas Trust is a great opportunity for young designers to work on a socially and environmentally conscious project brief, in order to understand ‘real’ issues and present ‘real’ solutions, with organisations who have a desire to improve lives. The topic of the project is central to the working methods of the Product Design Programme, to create socially responsive designers.

We are very fortunate to be involved in such an exciting and topical project, and the students are keen to provide solutions that meet the environmental demands, as well as those of the collaborative partners.

Greenseas Trust seeks to partner with other councils and companies to roll out the specially designed bins to other beaches around the UK coast.

*UN report 2017

Editor’s notes

The Greenseas Trust has worked on other projects at home and abroad to reduce plastic pollution in the sea and raise awareness about the issue. More information here

Biffa is a leader in the waste and recycling which provides collection, landfill, recycling and special waste services to local authorities.

Fazilette Khan has spent a lifetime in maritime occupations and sees her work at the charity as a chance to give something back to the ocean. She qualified as a marine electronic engineer from the Merchant Navy College formerly; HMS Worchester. She first went to sea when women sailing on ships were few and far between; working for many prominent shipping companies.

Fazilette has witnessed the growing problem of marine debris on our oceans first-hand. “My career at sea has allowed me the privilege to visit some of the most exotic and pristine coastal areas in remote parts of the world. It is heart breaking to come back a few years later and see those very same coves and beaches now strewn with unsightly plastics bottles and other non-biodegradable rubbish.”

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Fazilette Khan


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