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St Ninian's High School

Winner: Most Sustainable Solution 2023

St Ninian's High School's Eco Dream Team is made of members of the school's Eco-Committee working on their Eco-Schools Green Flag Award

The Dream Team decided to make an invention to be put into the Auldhouse Burn. They chose this burn after noticing a lot of plastic rubbish there, some of which came from their fellow pupils not using the bin.

This rubbish is blown into the river and looks unsightly. This burn is also home to some small fish who are affected by the plastic waste which ends up in their home.

The Dream Team went on a site visit and conducted a litter survey of the area which showed that the main litter found there was plastic bottles and cans. They then decided their invention would catch these things and stop them getting to the River Clyde.

To clean up the Auldhouse burn the Eco Dream Team designed the “Bin for the Burn”. This design combined different ideas from Eco Club members into one design.

The Bin for the Burn is a basket which travels through the water collecting plastic bottles and cans that are floating in the water. Some design points include:

  • The Bin for the Burn is designed to be solar powered to be as sustainable as possible
  • Pupils were worried that there might not be enough sun light in Scotland so decided to include a back-up battery.
  • So that Bin for the Burn is able to turn and won’t be washed away by the flow of the water, it has propellers.
  • The final model also includes sensors to indicate when the bin is full and needs to be emptied.
  • When the bin needs emptied it will move to the edge of the burn and hook onto a metal loop where it will wait to be emptied.
  • Another sensor could be included to ping an app to let people know that the bin needs to be emptied.
  • The Team wanted their design to fit in with the environment and not stand out.
  • Holes in the basket are large enough to let fish through 

After speaking to their mentor from BAE Systems, the group decided that the basket and solar panel parts should be built separately and connect together so that each can replaced separately. Solar panels could be made to look like a flower so that it fits in with the environment. 

Bin for the Burn should travel across the burn from bank to bank rather than down the burn and back up because the burn changes depth at some points which might make the bin less effective. Bin for the Burn would be constructed from recycled ocean plastics. 

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