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If you're looking to take on a new project with your Arduino, perhaps creating a smart trash can could be in the cards. Yes, it might sound strange but having a smart garbage bin could actually be helpful in a variety of ways. Instead of having to step on a pedal or lift up the lid yourself, you can create a motion-activated can with this project from Robocraze.
While it's a relatively simple job, you will need to get your hands dirty and spend some money. To start, you'll need to buy an Arduino UNO board. You can do that by purchasing a starter kit, and that's something a lot of beginners will likely end up doing as it'll give you everything you need to get started with a project. On top of that, you'll need a motor to control the trash can lid, a motion sensor to tell the lid to pop open, and jumper wires to create connections between the components. While it might sound complicated on the surface, it's really not all that bad in practice.
Make throwing garbage away easier
You'll have a bit of control over what you choose for the motion sensor, motor, and jumper wires. You can pick up a pack of six SG90 motors from Amazon for a little under $12. A 10-pack of the HC-SR04 sensors costs $13 on Amazon, and if you need some jumper wires you can pick up a bunch for about $10. Finally, you'll need the trash can itself to pull the whole project together. All in all, you could get this entire build together for under $100 — giving you a much cheaper option than just buying a smart trash bin.
The idea from here is to create a fully automated trash can that will open itself up when you're approaching to throw something away. The lid will pop open when you come within 30 cm of it, so it can really become a big quality-of-life upgrade. Of course, you'll just want to make sure your pet doesn't figure out how to open the lid if they're known to be a garbage eater.
Ultimately, this is a nice and simple project to get started on for pretty cheap. It'll allow you to see if you like working with the Arduino platform and if you want to invest further in the ecosystem. There are plenty of different projects to work on — like a smart vacuum — so even if a smart garbage can isn't your cup of tea, you're sure to find something that is.