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UBCO designed safe donation bins will soon hit Okanagan streets

A UBCO project aimed at stopping people from becoming trapped inside clothing donation bins is almost ready to hit the streets of the Okanagan.

In 2019, several deaths were reported across Canada after people climbed inside the bins taking shelter, encouraging a push to better design the bins.

The university's engineering students were tasked with the project and even received a $75,000 donation from Firstline Foundation to help see it through.

<who> Photo Credit: UBCO.

“When the last death happened in Vancouver, we decided to move all our bins off the street,” said Slav Gudelj with Big Brothers’ Vancouver office.

The students came up with a number of solutions, such as self-locking features that automatically come on at specific times.

“We ended up with a number of different models and eventually settled on four prototypes—each a little bit different,” said Ray Taheri, UBCO School of Engineering instructor.

“Some will come with more bells and whistles, some will be a very basic model. But definitely they are a much safer than what we had in the past.”

Nearly 180 of the newly retrofitted bins are ready to be sent back into the community over the coming weeks and months.

“I can’t stress enough how proud I am of my students and my colleagues in the School of Engineering,” added Taheri.

“These are the type of people we have at UBC Okanagan. Our students are not only very clever they are also very caring and compassionate. These students are making changes to have a positive impact on society. They are a beacon of great possibilities to come.”



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