When Alana Charles and her husband moved to their dream home in Toronto, they were excited to start life on their beautiful street; however, they were not excited about the new, very large refuse and recycling bins littering the front yards and curbsides in their neighborhood.
As part of a new program encourage recycling that began in 2008, the city of Toronto—along with many other large cities—delivered wheeled bins to each residence to encourage more recycling. And as time went by, the bins became more and more scattered around her neighborhood. Alana decided that giving people a new storage option for the bins could solve the pesky problem.
"We wanted something more design-oriented and modern that would fit in with the aesthetics of the neighborhood," says Alana, "something that would compliment the houses."
Toronto is a very concentrated city, and as Alana strolled through her neighborhood, she saw that people simply didn't have anywhere to store the bins. All of the homes on her street were row houses—meaning they're flush against one another—and they had neither garages, nor driveways, and nowhere else put the gray and bright-green bins except right in front. Alana thought that if they had to be there, they could be stored in a more presentable way.
Alana, who came from a sales and marketing background, then teamed up with industrial designers and manufacturers to develop the Urbin, a compact shed that one can easily wheel garbage or recycling bins into. Tailored to the needs of an urban dweller, the modular bins can be configured as a single, double, or triple unit, and are durable enough to withstand snow, ice, and rain. Alana wanted to take as much of an eco-conscious approach to the design; it was developed and manufactured in Canada using locally-sourced western cedar and comes flat-packed to reduce its carbon footprint.
"It boils down to solving urban issues through good design, which is the motto of our company, Ubisu" says Alana. The Urbin will be available in September of 2010 and can be ordered directly through ubisu.com.