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Talking bins help schools to reduce litter in the playground
Talking rubbish bins are being installed in schools and nurseries across the UK to encourage children to dispose of their litter properly. The bins, which have been developed by British company Amberol (, can be programmed to respond with a message every time litter is put into them. Greetings can be selected from a pre-programmed range and include messages such as “Yum yum feed me more”, “That’s the best meal I’ve had today” and “Thanks for your litter; I do like being fed by you.” Schools and organisations can also customise their own personal greetings. The messages are recorded on a sound card which is triggered by light sensors. “The bins have already proven popular in schools across the UK, with children of all ages far more eager to deposit their litter in the bins,” explains John Williamson, Amberol’s Marketing Manager. “We have received great feedback, with headteachers and staff reporting a substantial reduction in litter. We hope that using these bins will develop good habits that will last a lifetime.” The company also installed bins in every junior school in Liverpool in 2008 as part of an initiative to educate children about reducing litter. The bins come in various different designs including parrots, robins and chicks as well as the Amberol bear, known as Ambere, which has a maximum capacity of 180 litres and Percy Penguin which has a capacity of 90 litres. Made from recyclable polyethylene, the bins have a lock and key for security. “Similar initiatives in places such as Sweden have shown how small rewards and positive messages, combined with the novelty factor can all encourage higher usage of the bins,” explains John. “We feel that it is important to educate children from a young age about the importance of keeping their environment tidy and litter free.” The range is about to be extended by the addition of talking bins which include celebrity voices and novelty messages placed at tourist spots around Liverpool city centre including outside the Cavern nightclub, made famous by its association with the Beatles. The bins are being installed as part of the Love Where You Live campaign organised by Keep Britain Tidy. An estimated 30 million tonnes of litter is collected from the streets of Britain each year at a cost of £858 million in council tax. According to the Land Environmental Quality Survey of England (LEQSE), the litter hotpots include areas of high density housing as well as retail areas and public open spaces. For more information about Amberol’s range of talking bins visit

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