Recycling Should Be Fun and Easy


A new bin design in Portugal makes recycling fun and easy, two qualities not often associated with sorting your trash. These qualities may be needed though, at least in higher-trafficked areas, given most recycling bins are anything but user-friendly these days. Created by architectural and urban design firm AND-RÉ, the prototype set of bins are meant to give recycling a higher profile in the community, while will also encouraging more “democratic” use among many types of users.

The use of bold forms and colors is meant to seduce people into recycling their organic waste, glass, metals, paper, and cardboard. The designers assert: “The negative perception of the garbage bins was forgotten by changing the status of the object itself.” And people seem to be responding. Tourists were seen taking photos next to the bins. Children were even observed asking parents to put garbage in the right bins, turning sorting into a kind of game.


Made of composite fiber and high-resistance stainless steel, the bins limit unpleasant interactions with “dirty surfaces” and waste smells. While the set of bins have a similar look, inside, there are different sorting and storage mechanisms. “The system for organic waste and metal use a container (a drum with rotary counterweight axis) associated with the movement of the lid. Glass and paper systems use a fixed conduit, regardless of movement of the lid.” There’s also a pedal that frees the hands so more O.C.D. users can avoid touching the bins all together.


While the design is eye-catching, more sustainable recycled (and recyclable) materials should be incorporated if these get rolled out in more communities in Portugal or elsewhere.

Image credit: AND-RÉ

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