Introduction: Project Eco

St. Eugene College has been working on a smart bin for a robotics competition known as First Lego League. One of the aspects of the competition was to solve a problem about architecture or public space. Our solution was Project Eco! This is a smart bin that can detect the amount of rubbish within itself utilizing the power of an ultrasonic sensor, micro:bit, and LED strip. Since the bin can detect the amount of rubbish within itself, we decided to award houses in schools house points for whenever rubbish is put in it. There could be different bins with different colours for each house, so whenever an adamant amount of rubbish is within itself, it will show the amount through an LED strip and give a point to the allocated house.

Project Eco, in future iterations, could have a screen attached to more established project Eco bins, so in a public environment, everyday recipients could get rewarded a reduction in rates, taxes or just be given a credit, the recipient could fill out his or her details through the screen, giving them an incentive to pick up litter. AMAZING!

Currently, the bin only detects garbage within itself and lights up the LED strip according to how much rubbish is within itself.


he materials needed are:

  • Ultrasonic sensor
  • Micro:bit
  • Micro:bit shield
  • LED strip
  • Bin
  • Drill
  • Jigsaw (optional)
  • Spray paint (optional)
  • access to a printer (optional)

Step 1: Set Up the Bin

Before you do any work on the bin, make sure to clean the bin and if desired, decorate. This will make the process of the bins modification much easier

Step 2: Drill the Bin

Now drill holes on the side of the bin for the LED strip to be able to notify consumers to how full the bin is. Other modification can be easily made at this point if needed

Step 3: Apply Electronics

After you've drilled the holes in the bin for the electronic components, apply them in the bin, since the bin that we made was for recycling, the components didn't need to be protected. So, in this case, the LED strip was held to the bin by duct tape, with the LED lights on the strip approximately around where each hole was drilled. The other components were simply held to the lid of the bin inside a glass box, the glass box has a cutout for the ultrasonic sensor

Step 4: Code the Electronics

here is the code for the LED strip to read from the micro:bit, simply attach the micro:bit to your computer and attach this code

Step 5: Wiring

With the Micro:bit, the wire from the neopixel was attached to p1 on the micro:bit, if this doesnt work, try the other ports. On the other hand, the ultrasonic sensor was attached to p0, which the battery pack was attached to the port specifically for the battery pack. This may need some configuration, but in the end it will look beautiful

Step 6: You're Done!

Now you've built your very own project Eco bin, thank you for reading!