BIG IDEA: Playing with rubbish

My Australian cousins were recently visiting London. My Grandad was their Grandad’s brother and we all have alot in common; a love of food and drink, the lights of London and relaxing in the countryside. However, I was surprised to find that there was an opinion that divided us at a lunch party a couple of weeks ago.

My relatives from down under complained of the filth of London. They said that litter was everywhere and they could even see human spit on the pavements. Now, it’s not that I think that London is particularly clean, I just assumed that it was about as clean/dirty as any other old, cramped capital city. It’s possible that my Aussie relies are shocked because our capital is home to nearly double the number of humans as their largest city, Sydney.

It’s also possible that I have become, like so many, desensitised to London’s litter.

Whatever the reason, it brings to mind some big filth busting ideas being tried out in various cities across the world. In February, the city of Strasbourg, France, was invaded by pavement drawings, encouraging kids to ‘slam dunk’ their junk. ‘The Spielplatz project’ is credited to a group of French designers known collectively as The Démocratie Créative. The paintings were clandestinely applied at 4am, with no permission from local authorities, and by the morning social change was underway.

But guerilla groups aren’t the only ones promoting ecological actions through play. Volkswagen Sweden’s The Fun Theory programme aimed to influence behaviour through making everyday chores more ‘fun’. They fitted movement sensors and a speaker to create ‘the World’s Deepest Bin’ and transformed a humble bottle bank into an arcade machine.

Gumdrop Ltd’s chewing gum bins are bright pink, spherical and attached to lamp-posts. Made from a polymer of recycled chewing gum, they’re so enticing you can’t help but want to use them! Bearing in mind that discarded chewing gum costs the British government a reputed £150 million a year, could re-designing the bin be the answer?

Could keep our beach loving bodacious buddies on the South side happy…


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