Drone bins – an idea ahead of its time?


I had a conversation on Saturday at the #notwestminster event about Drone bins. Actually, the discussion started when someone asked the question – who will need councils when most services can be automated? This led to talk about which services might be automated, and then whether drones might eventually collect bins. I then chipped in to the discussion suggesting that, instead of drones collecting the bins, eventually technology could be incorporated into each bin to make it a drone. Thus, when the contents of a bin reach a certain weight it could fly itself off to the tip, empty itself and return to its home location.

There was much hilarity, and not a little disbelief when I shared this idea on social media. There was one comment about flocks of drone bins wheeling through the sky against the backdrop of a sunset. Sorry, I can’t remember who made this comment, but it was inspired.

This idea may seem far-fetched. But, think back thirty years and consider how many of the developments which we now, more or less, take for granted would have seemed fanciful back then. In 1985 no one, outside a few government scientists, was using the internet. How could we have predicted how much of our lives would be transformed by online services, and how connected we would all be? The thing about future technological developments is that, if they don’t seem magical or ridiculous, then they probably won’t be worth having. A time traveller from 1985 might have only one explanation for some of the technology we use now; and that is that we have finally discovered real magic.

So the idea of drone bins is a good laugh isn’t it? But, then, so was self-driving cars a few years ago, and those are now on the roads in California, and will shortly be coming to the UK.


4 thoughts on “Drone bins – an idea ahead of its time?

  1. I love this idea; it really is future thinking of the highest order! Taking Occam’s Razor to waste collection, it’s hard to come up with a better solution than this, other than some form of (impossible) waste version of a sewer or complete miniature home recycling facility.

  2. Love it. Although bin collection is relatively cheap, the weekly or fortnightly nature of the service means that it does add up into a reasonable chunk of local government spending. Added to that, it is the number one issue, in my experience, of why people have reason to contact their council. My fear would be that the people designing the drones are disaffected former binmen, who have retrained and programme the drones to drop the empty bins off 5 doors down or on people’s drives!

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