Bad Design #7 – don’t be a tosser, I dare you

Throwing rubbish in the bin should not be a challenge. So why does it feel like one?

An issue with public bins is that they are usually dirty. This isn’t necessarily the fault of the bin design, though sometimes it does not help, some people are just plain messy.

When designing a bin, 2 things are critical:

  1. people need to interact with it….people!
  2. the more barriers you design into your bin, the bigger the mess people will make

So the challenge is to make it as easy as possible for people to use the device, such that they don’t make a mess when disposing their litter.

A lid, that needs to be manipulated by a person, is a pretty big barrier.
A lid, that needs to be manipulated by a person’s hands, that’s even worse.

Look at the next photo. Look at the handle. You’re supposed to put your hand in there, and leave it in there for the duration of your rubbish disposing activity. Nice.

And herein lies the challenge people face when wanting to use the bin.

I want to use the bin….but I don’t want to touch it.

There is the brief. Pretty obvious I would have thought.

I won’t even go into how un-ergonomic those handles are, as the bin and the system around it have many issues. Some that I will raise another time.

Interestingly, the only person that isn’t required to touch the dirty lid is the actual garbage person. They only pull on the handles at the back, which are usually cleaner. And that’s even if they need to touch them at all, the automated rubbish collection truck has a robot arm which is controlled by the driver. He doesn’t even need to smell it!

So, problems? Yes.

Opportunities? Definitely.

Let’s go designers, this product has been around for decades…

 

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