Talking rubbish bins in West Lothian

Friday September 2nd 2022

 

Click the video above to hear the talking bin.


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Stuart Sommerville

New waste bins around West Lothian are talking up a future where they say ”thank you” every time they are used.

While the voice has described as a cross between “posh English and an android computer”, the idea has been shown to work in reducing litter.

Countryside manager Andy Johnston told a recent meeting of Linlithgow community council that bins placed around Linlithgow Loch were working well and there’d been a drop in litter in the area.

Not only do the bins thank people for depositing litter, when they are full they message the council asking to be emptied. It saves time and money for working teams .

Councillor Tom Conn said: “I think the bins are being well received by both residents and visitors. Indeed my daughter who visited and was down at the Loch actually contacted me to ask ‘why does the bin thank you’. I said it’s because in Linlithgow we’re kind to strangers.”

He added: “Maybe it needs a more Scottish voice, but from what I observed with young kids continually going back and forward with bits of paper to put in the bin to hear it talk, it’s a sound investment for future generations.”

Chairing the meeting, Councillor Sally Pattle said: “ Exactly. The gamification of rubbish bins.”

Mr Johnston said: “That’s exactly why the bins do speak to you, and say thank you. It’s there for behavioural change. I wasn’t aware of the accent and I don’t know who programmes the voices, but it seems to work.”

Lead officer for the LAC Graeme Struthers said: “It’s a really simple concept that has been so well received across the communities. I think it’s been a very very good initiative.“

And at Livingston South Local Area Committee, Cleaner streets manager David Lees backed this up. He said there had been teething problems with some of the bins but repairs had been made and the bins were already showing cleaner streets and allowing staff to move more traditional bins to other areas. The bins are manufactured by Wybone.

A spokesman for the council said: “We currently have 68 bins of this kind around West Lothian as we speak with another five to be deployed at a later date.”

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