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Helsinki trash cans to thank bin users for not littering

by Staff Writers
Helsinki (AFP) Aug 19, 2008
In an attempt to curb littering, Finland's capital will distribute rubbish bins that say "thank you" in celebrity voices when they are fed trash, city project managers said Tuesday.

"We are always thinking about different ways to stop littering. And this idea is great and fun," Helsinki project manager Elina Nummi told AFP.

Four ordinary-looking talking rubbish bins will be placed around the city centre from August 22 until the end of September, she said.

A detector in the bin will activate a loudspeaker as soon as rubbish is put in, and the conscientious bin user will hear the voice of a city leader or Finnish celebrity thanking them for their effort.

The detector will also monitor the number of times a thank you message is played, and thus how many times the bin is used.

"It is great that you care about the city. Cool, isn't it?" says city mayor Jussi Pajunen in one message.

The project was drawn up by a company called Public Side as part of a broader campaign aimed at animating the capital.

"The idea is to make a thing that is considered lifeless alive," company project manager Janne Wrigstedt told AFP.

Talking trash cans have previously been used with great success in other European cities, including Berlin and in Britain, he said.

In the centre of Helsinki, the talking cans will be moved to a new location once a week.

"We hope it will encourage people to put rubbish in the bin to see if that can is the one that talks," Wrigstedt said.

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