An Australian made and owned product is giving households and workplaces a hands-free and Covid-safe rubbish disposal solution.
The Covid-19 pandemic has seen demand for hands-free products grow over the past 12 months. To learn more, Waste Management Review spoke to Mike Billing from Bin Lid Opener (BLOP), which designs and makes products that make rubbish disposal within workplaces and homes around Australia and New Zealand easier. Taking the rubbish out – for both households and employees – isn’t always a favourite job. Yet Billing, who heads up the Melbourne-based BLOP, has developed simple devices that allow bin lids to be easily opened without using your hands.
BLOP’s bin lid lifting devices take less than five minutes to retrofit to most household wheelie bins. It has also worked with industry to develop bin lid lifters to open 660 litre and 1100 litre four-wheeled bins that can be easily retrofitted. The lifters allow users to open the bin’s lid with a pedal they push with their foot.
The lid then closes when they take their foot off the pedal. For the 660 litre and 1100 litre models, the bin lid can also be locked into place to help with rubbish disposal. BLOP launched in late 2019 and started supplying the lifters to households.
“Customers loved being able to load up both arms with rubbish or recyclables, and then open and close their bin with the foot pedal. It saves them from making two trips to the bin,” Billing says.
“We ended up having to expand our range from the original 240 litre product to cover all the main wheelie bin sizes from 80 litres up to 240 litres. We even offer a product that fits bins that don’t have handles.”
But the Covid-19 pandemic and the push for workplaces to reduce high-touch surface areas led to increased demand from workplaces and public settings.
“SafeWork Australia, Worksafe Victoria and other state bodies are recommending organisations to have closed bins in workplaces or touch free bins, such as pedal bins,” Billing says.
“BLOP’s lifters have now been installed in health settings, such as hospitals, Covid testing sites and allied health. A range of other industries are also benefiting from the hands-free option on their bins.”
To create the right product for the 660 litre and 1100 litre commercial four-wheeled bins, Billing says BLOP embarked on a custom design process with a large Victorian hospital and two of Australia’s major waste management companies.
“Interestingly, while commercial customers like the hands-free component from an infection control factor, their main interest was to reduce their manual handling-related injury risk. The lifters help meet this demand for reduced manual handling without the business having to purchase new bins because the device is designed for a simple retrofit,” Billing says.
“We can manufacture a product that fits specific business needs. For example, some businesses want the foot pedal to be mounted. Others want remote control functionality or to allow the user to lock the bin lid in an open position while they dispose of multiple bags of rubbish.”
But what happens when the garbage truck comes to collect the bins?
“That’s one of the most common questions we get. It’s great we can tell customers that they can just keep the device on. It doesn’t have to be removed and the bins are collected as usual.”
Billing is continuing to find new markets for BLOP devices.
“Customers tell us once they enjoy being able to lift a bin lid without touching the lid, they start to notice the dirty communal bins around our community – be it in parks, sports venues, caravan parks etc.”
With interest in the product growing both in Australia and New Zealand, BLOP is looking to talk to distributors interested in stocking the lifters.
“The lifters have wide appeal. It’s helpful for people who don’t want to touch dirty bins, and for workplaces to minimise their contamination risks and risks for manual handling injuries,” Billing says.
“But we also see how BLOP’s lifters can make life easier for people of an older age, or those with a physical disability who may struggle to hold a bag of rubbish with one hand and open the lid with another. The lifters just make the everyday job of taking out the rubbish easier and safer.”