Every time I go away I come back with some ‘don’t they do this thing better than we do where I live’ notion. This time it was all about bins.

If you’ve been around these parts for a while you will know I am a big fan of nudge/behavioural change. Can the wording on bins really change how much people litter? I think it can.

Copywriting and clever use of words are not just about marketing copy. Messaging is everywhere – some clearer and more concise than others. You can usually tell what is and isn’t a bin (even though there is no one-size-fits-all bin type across the UK) but use of imagery and well-crafted words can help you make the right choice. Is it for recycling? Or general waste? Plus the all-important messaging to make you stop and think.

In Manchester, there has recently been an experiment with voting bins. #PickYourSideMcr is all about adding a touch of humour to encourage bin use with hyper-regional voting topics – barm or muffin? Liam or Noel? They’re quite high-tech, with sensors inside to count the votes and a digital display to show the results. It will be interesting to see the actual results of this innovative scheme. 

This is also hyper-regional and quirky in Sheffield – ‘purrit int bin’. Bravo Sheffield.

I love this sign in Eyam (a surprisingly upbeat and cheery plague village). It’s not technically on an actual bin, but I love the cartoon and wording around use of the stocks. We actually have stocks where I live, I wonder if something similar would work here in Royton?

Eyam stocks - still in use today!

Eyam stocks – still in use today!

I also overheard Jeremy Vine on the radio yesterday saying something about a bin sign along the lines of ‘if the floor is full please use the bins’. I don’t know where that was/is but I like it a lot!

Conversely, I spent a lovely couple of hours at Lyme Park,  the National Trust place. I walked quite the distance, and I carried a full dog poo bag for most of it. I did not see one bin at all in the whole time. What’s that all about? Do they not want to spoil the landscape with bins? Or were they heavily disguised to blend in and I missed them? 

I managed to write all this about bins without once referencing the government’s change of heart on the proposed 7 household recycling bins which was apparently never even on the table to take off? Oops, I said it.

In summary – yes quirky/clever/direct/persuasive messaging on bins works and can drive positive change (and make the world a cleaner place) and so say all of us (well, me).