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Ellsworth tests new windproof trash can prototype

A trash can is lowered after being emptied at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Jan. 7, 2021.

A trash can is lowered after being emptied at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Jan. 7, 2021. The trash can was equipped with a prototype version of Gust, a 3-D printed device that secures the lid. The test was a success, though minor changes are still required, and the final product is scheduled to be completed at the end of this year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Quentin K. Marx)

A trash can equipped with the Gust device is being tested at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Jan. 7, 2021.

A trash can equipped with the Gust device is being tested at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Jan. 7, 2021. Gust is a 3D-printed device designed to keep trash cans closed during all weather conditions, specifically high winds. ( U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Quentin K. Marx)

A garbage truck empties a trash can equipped with the Gust device at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Jan. 7, 2021.

A garbage truck empties a trash can equipped with the Gust device at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Jan. 7, 2021. Gust is a 3D-printed device designed to keep trash cans closed while stationary, and automatically open and close when trash is being dumped, so the garbage truck drivers’ jobs are not hindered in any way. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Quentin K. Marx)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- The 28th Bomb Wing tested a windproof trash can prototype Jan. 7 at Ellsworth Air Force Base.

The prototype was developed by a team of students at San Diego State University, San Diego, California, to make trash debris around the installation a thing of the past.

“Last year was an especially windy year, where there were significant issues with wind blowing trash against fence lines, onto the flight line, and even clogging storm drains,” said Lorie Vega, the 28th Mission Support Group deputy director. “We realized that the trash can lids would blow open, with loose material such as lightweight paper and plastics being blown out, [and] a solution needed to be found, fast.”

Trash spreading around the base is not good for its residents, the mission, and the environment. Due to this, the 28th MSG submitted a problem statement to the National Security Innovation Network, a program designed to connect university student teams with issues on Air Force installations.

“The 28th MSG used a problem curation process analyze the problem and establish a root cause,” said Vega. “Once we had a good problem statement, we submitted it to an NSIN website where many schools look over the problem that was submitted and decide which ones match their curriculum and class capabilities.”

When a school chooses a problem statement, it is then given to a student team with the right skillset to resolve the problem.

“Me and my team of four other individuals created a device that would solve the wind issue that Ellsworth Air Force Base is facing, with the solution being a 3D-printed device named Gust,” said Jacob Hoppe, a San Diego State University student. “Gust is designed to keep trash cans closed during all weather conditions, as well as stopping the spread of trash by allowing the trash can to open up automatically during the dumping process for garbage trucks and remain closed while stationary.”

With Gust being a prototype, Hoppe and his team still have changes that must be made and completed by the end of their semester.

“This is by no means a final product, but we are ecstatic to see that it is able to perform as intended,” said Hoppe.

The final product is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2021.
 

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