Local startup plans to make recycling a sun-powered artWritten by Claudia Boyd-Barrett | | firstname.lastname@example.org
A new kind or recycling bin could soon be making an appearance on the streets of Toledo.
Beginning April 22, startup company Smart Binz Corporation of Toledo plans to manufacture recycling receptacles that are fitted with solar-powered lighting and decorated with work by local artists.
The brainchild of local entrepreneur Christopher Harris, Smart Binz hopes to begin placing the receptacles around Toledo bus shelters in the near future. The bins will be manufactured locally, Harris said.
Made out of recycled plastic, the receptacles offer a modern, aesthetically pleasing alternative to traditional bulky recycling bins, Harris said.
“We need to recycle, and the receptacles need to be there, but why do they have be ugly?” Harris said. “The primary purpose is obviously to capture recyclables. But we have a secondary purpose too: to beautify the landscape.”
To come up with the design, Smart Binz collaborated with a Ford Motor Company engineer and California energy adviser. Harris was inspired to add the solar module in deference to Toledo’s burgeoning solar industry.
Toledo artist Robert Zollweg provided artwork for the pilot design, and Harris hopes to get other local artists on board with the project.
Smart Binz already has a contract with the Toledo Area Regional Transport Authority to place the receptacles around bus shelters. The company still has to come up with funds — either through corporate sponsorship or government grants — in order to fund the initiative, Harris said.
He also hopes to sell the bins to municipalities, schools and universities around the country.
“The concept’s pretty neat,” said Ryan Reiter, economic development assistant to Mayor Carty Finkbeiner. His office has been working with Harris to help develop the business.
“It’s functional, and also an opportunity to generate revenue for other companies: those who make the bins and those who advertise” on them.
After two years of developing the idea for the receptacles, Harris said he is eager to see his efforts take off.
“We’re geared up to go into mass production,” he said. “We’re just waiting for orders.”
For more information, visit www.smartbinz.net.