Many grassroots elders in Hong Kong are engaged in waste picking for meagre income in order to survival in the community. They make significant contributions to waste recycling but they are generally neglected by the society.
“Co-designingan Iron Trolley for Cardboards Recycling” is one of the Action Projects of “PolyU Jockey Club ‘Operation SOINNO’ Season 2 Programme “Empathising Elderly in Workplace”. The aim of the project is to pool together efforts from different parties to re-design the work trolley used by waste pickers in order to reduce their work strain, increase their work safety and upholding their dignity.
The project was launched in November 2018. At total of 25 members of the community participated in “Social Innovation Design for Elderly Waste Pickers” Workshop. Through the three-day workshops, the participants gathered the ideas from observations, exchanged with elderly waste pickers and generated serval proposals. For instance, redesigning the recycling trolley, establishing a community storage space for elderly waste pickers and so on.
After the workshop, some participants formed a public design team to further research on the feasibility of the ideas with the support of the following parties:
- JCDISI Social team staff
- Members from local organisation “Waste Picker Platform
- Designer Mr. Chan Ka Hing
- Elderly waste pickers – Ms Wong and Ms Chen
- Trolley Co-design Team Members:
- Mr. Andrew Lau
- Dr. HinChung Lau
-Ms. SzeWing Cho
-Ms. Terry Siu
Four Objectives of the project
Social Care –Upholding the work dignity of elders, increasing their work safety, and upholding their dignity;
Innovation and Cooperation – through the lead of designers, the ideas generated from the cooperation with users, community organizations, and general public are able to specifically work out;
Silvery design – design for silvery aged elderly users;
Empathy - Consider the difficulties and pain points of the elderly waste pickers, in order to generate a more “down-to-earth” design.
The three-day workshop organized in November 2018 allowed the public participants to discuss, empathise, and identify the problem faced by elderly waste pickers in using their working trolleys. Participants visited and collected opinions from the community with the support of a local organisation “Waste Picker Platform”. By deploying design thinking techniques, the participants generated ideas and worked out the prototypes together.
Based on the prototype generated from the workshop, members from the trolley design team studied and explored the feasibility of each idea to create a product model. Then user trials were conducted.
Two elder users Ms Wong and Ms Chen were invited to try the new recycling trolley for total four weeks.
- First trial by Ms Wong, conducted during 2nd July 2019 to 14th July 2019 in Shueng Shui
- Second trial by Ms Chen, conducted during 30th July 2019 to 13th August 2019 in North Point
After the tirals, the public co-design team revise the design based uponthe opinions and observations collected from Ms Wong and Ms Chen. In the future, the team will conduct another 12 months street test to ensure safe and effective use of the trolleys.
Project result (for more information, please refer to appendix 1)
The specifications of New “Recycling Trolley”:
- Size folded : 1200mm x 560mm x 300mm
- Size opened : 1300mm x 850mm x 860mm
- Net Weight : 36kg
- Maximum carrying capacity：100kg
- Easy in lifting up to kerbs
- Easy navigation
- With the function of breaks on the rear wheels
- Locking device
- Goods of same weight is more stable on the new recycling trolley when compared with the traditional trolley.
- Meet the actual work needs of waste pickers and equip them with the accessories they need every day
- The design is based on the most popular iron-trolley on the market, but made to be safer, more labour-saving and adaptable to the local environment
- The design drawings and specifications of “Recycled Trolley” will be uploaded to the project website for any parties who are interested to download and reference.
- In the short term, four “Recycling Trolley” will be produced. Through the local organization “Waste Pickers Platform”, the registered elders in different areas will get a trolley to use for one year street test, as the reference to the improvement of the design. The "Waste Pickers Platform" will also explore how to provide support according to the needs of these elders.