If you want a sexy bin, go to Sweden

Still from video of talking rubbish bin in Malmö
(Image credit: Richard Orange via YouTube)

City planners are forever thinking up ways to use tech and design to get people to behave with a bit more civic responsibility, but this one in Malmö is certainly something different.

It appears that some public rubbish bins (a.k.a. trash cans to our US readers) in the Swedish city have been programmed with audio messages that play when people deposit their garbage in them. Not just any audio messages though – as YouTube user Richard Orange discovered, they play short, seductive clips of a woman’s voice, saying phrases laced with double entendre.

It’s difficult at first to know whether this idea is so bad it’s good, or so bad it’s bad – it reminds me of our round-up of design fails that were so bad they were actually good.

Watch the video below to decide for yourself.

If you don’t speak Swedish, Richard Orange and other users have provided some handy translations in the comments. Phrases the bin says when it receives a piece of trash include:

“Come back quickly and do that again.”

“Ooh, yeah, right there.”

“Ahh, that was crazy good.”

“Hmm, more."

“Little more to the left next time.”

It’s all very silly, but of course it’s supposed to be. Marie Persson, from Malmö's roads department, said to the Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan that the point of the talking bins is to give people a reward – a laugh – for doing the right thing. 

“The sentences are part of the campaign's intention to get more people to talk about the dirtiest thing there is: littering. The stuff that ends up in our streets, squares, and sea,” she said.

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According to Persson the voice behind the bins is also someone famous, though they are choosing to remain anonymous for now, possibly not wanting to go down in history as the voice of history’s sexiest bin.

Ultimately though, if this initiative gets more fewer people to litter, then it’s a good thing as far as I’m concerned. Maybe, as more than one YouTube commenter observed, we could also get some bins that say sexy things when you correctly rinse and sort your recycling? Or what about a pavement that moans when you walk somewhere rather than drive? Malmö civic authorities, if you’re reading this, let’s talk. 

If you want to get started on designing your own ways to make city life a little cleaner, then check out our guide to the best 3D modelling software for some programs that might be helpful.

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Jon Stapley

Jon is a freelance writer and journalist who covers photography, art, technology, and the intersection of all three. When he's not scouting out news on the latest gadgets, he likes to play around with film cameras that were manufactured before he was born. To that end, he never goes anywhere without his Olympus XA2, loaded with a fresh roll of Kodak (Gold 200 is the best, since you asked). Jon is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq, and has also written for in Digital Camera World, Black + White Photography Magazine, Photomonitor, Outdoor Photography, Shortlist and probably a few others he's forgetting.