Talking Trash – waste bin designs that help change behaviours
– By Jaz Wood
No one really talks about their issues with disposing rubbish, but really we should be. It’s generally just not as hot a topic as that party you went to on the weekend, the guy or girl you have a crush on or the TV series you just cant get enough of. But why would you? Lets face it rubbish is just not a pretty topic, it smells, its horrible for the environment and sometimes it can be a hassle to get rid of. And the bins we put our waste in aren’t normally helping us with these problems . I could write you a long list of these problems, but I think we would both find it easier if you watched this quick and shocking video by the Hungry Beast that highlights the waste disposal issues we face right here in Australia.
Don’t worry all is not lost. What if I told you there are bins out there that can help? Designers from around the world have utilised interactive technologies and innovative ideas to make this somewhat boring subject a little more exciting, easier and efficient. For example the design by Miren Arrieta-Odria and design by Gianluca Solid eliminate the confusion of recycling and unsightly messy bins. A simple solution and easy to use, these designs help people dispose of rubbish properly in the home.
Here are some other interesting in home/office bin designs intended to engage people with the environmental impacts of waste. Such as the ‘TUNE’ bin Designed by Wesley Scott – This bin is designed to encourage good recycling habits in kids, by playing a small happy tune every time something is placed in the bin teaching them “what sustainability sounds like”, when the bin is full it plays a longer tune to reward the user for recycling a lot. Or the ‘e-bin’ system designed by Baharash Bagherian a ‘smart bin’ that communicates information to both the user and the recycling company, the bin tells the user if its full and then tells them where the nearest alternative bin is located. It also talks to the local recycling company, telling them when the bin is full and needs to be emptied. It also tells users what items are suitable for recycling using touch screen technology.
Would you clean up more and try to waste less if your bin told all your friends how much you use your bin? The ‘Share’ trash bin designed by Burak Kaynak does just this with his design. Every time the user steps on the pedal to dispose of their rubbish it adds to the count shown on the front of the bin. The count shows how many times you have used the bin and it shares a live count of your use to all your friends on social networking sites.
We all know the term ‘Trash to Treasure’ Making something that was once rubbish into something useful, and comparatively beautiful. This bin designed by Qianqian Tao does a version of this by creating a waste paper recycle trash can that recycle the waste by itself. The bin turns the paper waste into low stools or extra waste baskets; you can keep them for yourself or give them away to friends.
Rubbish does have a tendency to stink! But do our bins have too? Thanks to designers Joe Brunton who designed the ‘SmellFree’ compost bin and Cem Tutuncuoglu who designed the ‘Minus’ rubbish bin maybe it doesn’t.
Joe’s design uses carbon filters to erase this stinky issue as well as erasing those icky juices, perhaps making composting more appealing to those that have been turned off. Whilst Cem uses a cold climate to suppress the smells from stinky old bins.
We don’t just face issues with waste in the home and office. What about when we are out and about? Some designers have been encouraging people to dispose of their rubbish properly. Everyone knows that littering is ugly and bad for the environment but it would seem that some people need some extra encouragement. Check out the world’s deepest bin as part of the behaviour changing project by The Fun Theory in the video below.
I’m the first to admit that I am lazy if things aren’t close and convenient enough for me to use or do, then I wont… even if that means I have to hold onto that empty packet of chips and find it in the bottom of my bag months later. If your lazy like me then this ‘Sustain-O-Bin’ Designed by a group of students from The Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay might be the perfect solution for us.
This bin follows people nearby and thanks people for using it. Made from used cardboard, newspapers and computer boxes. This design makes life a little more convenient.
Maybe I wouldn’t be so lazy with my rubbish if the bins were cute. Lets face it that smelly rectangle with the hole in the top isn’t very appealing. You know what is cute? Animals. Animals with big Floppy ears and sweet faces. London designer Paul Smith abuses, I mean uses this knowledge to encourage people to use bins. This bin hasn’t quite captured the cuteness of a bunny rabbit but it does have ears that flash when you use it.
Now imagine if our rubbish could feed cute little animals. Marten Feiter designed a bin that does just this in an imaginary sort of way. Designed to encourage people in schools and other public areas to stop littering. The bin is activated by inserted rubbish and plays a pre recording of a little animal scurrying and nibbling on the disposed rubbish. Clever idea, however I’m not so sure if it would encourage me to get rid of my rubbish as I don’t think rubbish is good for animals.
For those of you who are thinking these are great ideas, but not necessarily practical, you may be wrong. The ‘Renew’ smart bin installed in London are a bin network designed for people travelling to and from their work. Some of its many features include WIFI, LCD screen with news headlines and weather information and a specially designed slot for recycling newspapers, its bomb proof and in case of a public emergency it will set of a siren and relay information. The success of this bin has encouraged other cities such as New York, Tokyo and Singapore to take this system in. Who knows maybe Australia is next…
Now that you have read this post I hope you think Talking Trash is a hot topic. Waste Disposal is a major issue we face both here in Australia and around the world. Products using behaviour changing methods like the ones I’ve shown you are a great step in the rite direction. We can all do our bit to help.