BinDayCator Lets You Know When To Take Out The Trash

Municipal waste pickup is a wonderful luxury. Typically once a week, large trucks come by and pick up bins of garbage from your residence. All you have to do is remember to put them out! In a uniquely human way, this is very hard to do. Enter the BinDayCator.

The project consists of a 3D-printed model of a typical council wheelie-bin. Printed in white filament, the bin is translucent enough to glow when lit by powerful WS2812B LEDs. Having four LEDs both helps fill the entire model with an even light, as well as allows the bin to display multiple colors in different segments. This means that if it’s green bin day, the bin glows green. If it’s the day for the red and blue bins, the indicator will light up segments in red and blue.

Unfortunately there’s no global standard that councils use to serve up bin day data over the Internet, so configuration isn’t as simple as pointing the BinDayCator at your local waste authority’s website. Instead, some Node-RED code is used to scrape the council website once a day and tell the ESP8266 controlling the BinDayCator which bins are due to be placed on the roadside. A later revision has a custom calendar UI that can allow for manual configuration of the relevant days.

The BinDayCator is a cute device, and one that would likely be commercially successful if there were a simple and easy way to configure the necessary data feed. We’d love one by our front door so we didn’t miss another collection day. Visual indicators are always useful, even if its just for checking the mail. Video after the break.


39 thoughts on “BinDayCator Lets You Know When To Take Out The Trash

    1. This.

      It’s just more garbage for the landfill. Some lazy bum who can’t remember to take out the trash by either remembering a simple pattern , or opening his eyes when he looks or walks outside and notices his neighbours have all managed to take out their trash, 3d printed something and put a LED it it. Let’s write an article about a supposed hack.

      Hey Lewin, for your next article write something about how I set my alarm clock to 6 am to get up for work monday through friday. Oh.. I also worked last saturday .. That should be enough for a Part 2 : How do add an extra day to your alarm clock. Oh .. 6 am Eastern time .. Or else I’d be late.

      1. I really don’t get comments like this. Just because you personally don’t find a project useful doesn’t mean that everyone else in the world has to think the same (or that they are somehow stupid or lazy if they happen to find the convenience useful).

        If modding were 100% about fulfilling an absolute life or death need the hobby would be far smaller and less diverse. Modders/hackers do often work with necessities but what’s the problem with having some fun and doing a “just because I can” project?

        Does every single activity you perform have 100% utility? Why do you feel the need to enforce your rigid view on others about what a “worthwhile” hobby should look like while I’m sure if others did the same to you I’m sure there’d be hell to pay? I’m seriously asking because I really cant understand how anyone could get so belligerent and self concerned about a fun project a stranger on the internet has done.

      2. My trash is collected by a private company that delays the schedule one day if there is a holiday earlier in the week. I have to consult their schedule to find out which holidays they observe.

        1. Because he can. That’s it, just like you are free to use whatever tools and materials you have to do whatever project you want (so long as it’s legal obviously). Sure some stranger may look at your projects and call them a waste of time, but it’s still your right to make your hobby fun for you (or what would be the point of anything).

    1. (Just put the bin out!)

      Our bins alternate, but they go erratic around public holidays.
      I used to have a script that scraped it from the council website and sent me a push notification. Then the council changed their website, and I never got round to fixing the script.
      Tom’s comment above has made me realise that that whilst an alarm every Thursday won’t be 100% accurate, it’s going to be right 90% of the time, which is worth having. One day I’ll fix the script. In the meantime I’ve set a weekly todo item. #underengineeredHacks

  1. I just use a paper calendar, freely available by the local recycling depot.

    I don’t need to install bindle, to interface with babble, to frabbelize my data, so it can be sent to the bable client, running on bibble architecture, which needs the fibble processor , to de-fibbelize my data, so it’s compatible with dabble, which runs only on fabble, dependent on the gabble server.

    it also auto-adjusts for holidays, strikes, and DST.

    1. My schedule varies due to holidays. Some people have to put recycling out every other week. It’s not rocket science to figure out the schedule, but something like this makes it easier if the schedule isn’t constant.

  2. I’d like to put revolving red lights on everybody’s toter that don’t pick them up the next day. Those people are just lazy not to know when that day is and return them off the street. They can get a $50 fine. Low income rental neighborhoods are the worst. If a holiday falls on your trash day it’s the next day, and they have to work Saturday. I will talk to the mayor on the radio call in show and bring up the idea of putting stickers on the cans or mailing fridge magnet reminders of trash day and see what he thinks and does.

    1. My bins are still out even though pickup was yesterday, and I’m going to leave them out until tomorrow just for you.

      Actually I’m out of town on Saturday. Maybe I’ll bring them in on Sunday if it’s not raining.

  3. We have alternating weeks here.
    Green/Blue one week then black the next week.
    Helps it’s on a monday morning.

    We have a clothes peg. Coloured black on one side and green/blue on the other.
    It’s clipped to a screw on the wall next to the paper calendar.

    We put the bins out on a sunday night and reference the peg for which is due, then flip the peg over for next week.
    It’s worked well for ten years.

    But that said, this is pretty cool.
    I dont think I’d do it stand alone, but add the feature to some other ESP project which is barely ticking over.
    Like a blind controller say, or a clock chime, or fridge temperateur monitor and so on….

  4. I also made this last week, showing here on reddit:

    It’s an ESP8266 with 16 LED RGB ring, ws2812b. The enclosure is an IKEA Vinterfest 2019 house, discounted to €3. Still got to put the esp in there.

    Software is ESPHome and the waste collectors info is received from a HACS add on(Dutch Afvalwijzer). The automation is then made in Home Assistant.

    The kickstarter failed for Darren, as in the UK the waste collectors don’t have an API for when the waste gets collected. In the Netherlands this is available, making the project much easier.

  5. Thanks for posting this, I think this is a good idea, although I’d probably print one bin and have it display a different color; no criticism, it would just work better for me. Over Christmas our local authority varied their pickup schedule from the norm and everybody put the wrong bin out; as someone who has difficulty with their memory this would help me greatly.

  6. Hmmm. I need to put a weight sensor on the Cat Litter can so I can remember to empty it when it gets to about 25 pounds or so…(the can can hold up to 80, but the collectors and my back aren’t fans of that amount of cat poo.)

    Would be a clean way to notify me of that.

  7. At fisrst I thought that having the trash collected once a week was a joke, in my city and most everywhere in my country (Spain) it is collected every day. except in some cities on sunday.


  8. The City i live in uses a service called recollect. They don’t have an open API however it was pretty easy to mine the protocol out of the javascript on the citys website and post my own calls to Pretty simple to get around their cors security.

    Once it was all done i integrated it into my home automation system to light up the one light above the bins when i head to my car in the morning, haven’t forgotten since.

    For all of those that are saying that devices like this don’t help, many cities have very convoluted schedules, in my city we have 3 bins, all have different pickup days of the week, some bins are picked up weekly others every 2 weeks, a holiday will shift the schedule potentially just for one bin. Also the pickup of different bin types varies by season, no grass clippings in winter means the green bin only gets picked up every 2 weeks.

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