The new Manchester city centre bins where you vote with your litter

In Manchester city centre, innovative ‘ballot bins’ have been set up to give people a unique way to express their opinions on various topics.

These bins, called ‘Big Ballot Bins’, allow people to cast their vote by disposing of their litter in the designated bins. The subjects up for vote include preferences between Liam and Noel Gallagher, Hollywood films Barbie or Oppenheimer, and the classic age-old question – barm or muffin?

It is part of a trial run by Manchester City Council, environmental charity Hubbub and KFC to tackle litter in the city centre. People are encouraged to share their opinions on social media with the hashtag #PickYourSideMCR.

Councillor Lee-Ann Igbon, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Vibrant Neighbourhoods, said: “I am pleased that we’re teaming up with Hubbub to launch this new scheme in the city centre. This initiative is one of the many innovative ways the Council is trying to reduce littering in the city and encourage people to put their rubbish in the bin.

“By getting people voting, we hope that residents will be encouraged to vote on funny topics and throw their litter in the bins, keeping our streets clean.”

The bins use sensors to detect and count which option the public vote for as they throw away their litter, with digital screens keeping track of the score.

It comes as new figures show that the UK is spending £1 billion each year to clear 30 million tonnes of litter.

Gavin Ellis, director and co-founder at Hubbub, said: “We’re always looking for creative ways to reduce littering, and we hope the new Big Ballot Bins, built based on proven behaviour change principles, will do just that.”

Ellipsis Earth, an environmental tech company, will analyse the project’s impact by measuring litter levels around the bins using AI. The data generated will be explored along with the results from a similar campaign in Southampton to determine if the project can be successfully implemented in other parts of the country.

Main picture: Councillor Lee-Ann Igbon (centre) joins KFC workers and the Hubbub team alongside one of the bins (Image: Hubbub)

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