A college in Lisburn in Northern Ireland is taking an innovative approach to tackling the issue of litter collection by introducing Amberol’s talking litter bins to encourage responsible litter disposal.
The ‘babbling bins’ are located on the Lisburn campus of the South Eastern Regional College (SERC), as well as at various Translink bus and railway stations in the city. The litter bins have a voice box and a sensor which detects motion and triggers a recorded message, so the bins ‘speak’ whenever rubbish is deposited. The messages include: ‘Can it for a better planet’ and ‘Give a hoot, don’t pollute’.
The babbling bins project was instigated by SERC's Eco Committee. With support from the college’s Enterprise, Entrepreneurship and Environment team, the committee was awarded a grant of £3000 from the Live Here Love Here Small Grants Scheme. The scheme is run by environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful and is designed to support community-based environmental projects across Northern Ireland.
The babbling bins are part of the Eco Committee’s drive to reduce littering and encourage recycling within the SERC community as well as across the wider area. The collection of litter receptacles include recycling bins and five babbling bins.
As part of the initiative, the committee launched a competition for staff and students to come up with messages for the bin. The messages selected were then recorded by SERC’s performing arts students. In addition, students created artwork for the recycling bin panels, including Eco Committee Green Champion Mollie Richardson who created designs for the talking bins.
Amberol’s MD, Patience Atkinson-Gregory was delighted that the company was able to play a part in the initiative. She comments: “It’s good to see young people working together to raise awareness of issues such as littering and to take direct action to help improve facilities within their environment. This was an imaginative and exciting project, and we are delighted to see our talking bins in situ.”
The talking bins on the SERC campus are Enviro-bins which come in two sizes: 90 litre or 150 litre capacities. Made from recyclable polyethylene, the bins are available in a range of 18 standard colours and can be customised with logos and other artwork. In fact, almost any bin from the Amberol range can be customised with a voice box to make them ‘talk’. “Our animal bins, which include Percy Penguin and Ambere Bear, are popular choices for sound cards,” adds Patience. “Children and adults love the novelty of being thanked for disposing of their litter. Customers often report significant improvements in litter collection when using talking bins in schools, play areas and public places.”
South Eastern Regional College has eight campuses across the area, offering specialist facilities and a range of learning experiences to over 30,000 users. The college also employs around 1,000.
The Live Here Love Here scheme runs across Northern Ireland. The programme, which is funded through 10 councils, Northern Ireland Housing Executive, DAERA and McAdam, encourages community action to make neighbourhoods cleaner and greener.
Photo shows L – R: Mollie Richardson, Level 3 Media student whose designs appear on the babbling bins, Nicola Fitzsimons, Live Here Love Here, Tracey Connolly, LCCC, Natasha Lloyd, SERC, Grace Lundy, Translink, and Terence Brannigan, SERC Entrepreneur in Residence and Mark Glover, Translink.