These last couple of years, human society has been seriously trying to be more environmentally conscious on a larger scale. Behaviours are slowly starting to change as we collectively face a looming ecological disaster. However, we don't really fully understand the impact of digital pollution. To make this issue visible and raise awareness about the growing impact of digital waste in our lives, Soixante Circuits reached out to BETC to develop IRL Trashcan: the first physical bin that immediately deletes all the emails from your trash.
Digital pollution is a nightmare. It causes around 4% of all global greenhouse effect and is still not a growing concern for the general public.
This lack of awareness and lack of interest around this topic has a simple cause: digital waste is too invisible. And as humans, we are biased to not consider what we can't see.
French design studio Soixante Circuits, has the mission of bridging the physical and digital worlds. Along with BETC, they have decided to tackle this issue head on its head by coming up with a simple and innovative solution: making digital waste physical.
To achieve this, Soixante Circuits and BETC used the digital tool that we use the most in our daily lives: the email. They created a physical bin named IRL Trashcan. Made for small and large businesses alike, this trashcan is actually a small computer, connected on the local WIFI network, that synchronises in real time hundreds of employees email accounts. Using the professional smartphone that every employee is equipped with, employees can hold their phone near the NFC sensor of the IRL Trashcan, which will immediately delete all the emails stored in their email trash.
IRL Trashcan is already in place within companies involved in the initial program and is available for their employees.
This innovative object was created to establish a new gesture, a new type of reflex. Just like the way that you remind yourself to throw your soda can in the recycling bin, you will get used to holding your phone near the IRL Trashcan to wipe off your deleted emails.
Because invisible doesn't mean without impact.
With this innovation, Soixante Circuits and BETC hope to raise people's awareness about their digital carbon footprint.
To get companies from all over the world on board, Soixante Circuits and BETC have decided to make the device available to all. "We believe that it is by a commitment from the largest number of people possible that we will finally raise awareness around the issue of digital waste." say the inventors. The entire workflow is available for free on https://www.irltrashcan.soixantecircuits.fr/.
Today, each person has thousands of deleted emails stored in its email client. The impact of this additional storage is still difficult to measure given the lack of precise data coming from tech giants about their data servers. However, it is undeniable and the global public must know about it. IRL Trashcan is an awareness tool that is a part of the realisation. IRL Trashcan won't solve the issue of digital pollution by itself but it opens up a crucial debate.