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A closer look at Amberol's talking animal-shaped bins

What is your product?

A recycling bin in the shape of an animal e.g. a penguin or bear which broadcasts a recorded message when litter is deposited.

How does it work?

A light sensor or infrared beam is broken as litter is placed in the beak. This can be battery or mains fed using a step down transformer.

Designed for children, the aim is to encourage them to recycle or deposit litter responsibly. Tests have shown that interactive bins collect three times as much waste when compared to standard bins.

Where would it ideally be used?  

The bins work well internally or externally, and in any school environment or theme park.

How is it different?

Designed to be visually appealing, the voice box is programmed via a laptop with a card slot. Once programmed, the SD card is transferred to the voice box. Multiple messages can be recorded in any language, and can be easily overwritten for new campaigns. As far as we are aware, Amberol are the only company to offer this type of interactive bin.

What benefits does it offer? 

The novelty visual and audible element increases utilisation and helps educate children to respect their environment. They can also be used to re-enforce messages e.g. safe cycling week or Green Cross Code.

Where has it been used?  

Stena Line have them on board their ferries and junior schools in Liverpool installed them for a particular environmental initiative.


The penguin bin costs £315 and voice boxes vary from £30 to £125 depending on the requirement.

Any savings?

Reducing littering and increasing recycling would save the UK and its councils significant amounts of money.

What about maintenance?

If battery powered, the batteries need changing from time to time, otherwise a drop of oil on the hinges is sufficient.

What is its life span?

The bins will last for many years.

How is it future-proofed?

Recordings can be changed to reflect current legislation and to deliver specific messages.

Any future applications?

We are working on a solar powered, completely sustainable version. With so many visual messages all around us, we feel that an audible message has the element of surprise and may transfer more effectively to the subconscious.

How many have you sold and where?

Several hundred have been sold to schools, theme parks and Stena Line. We have also exported several to Switzerland.

Anything else?

We are told that children empathise with them and sometimes tell them their secrets!

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