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Rubbish bins are talking dirty to Swedish citizens to prevent littering

Don’t be startled, Swedes – there’s no one living inside your public bins. They’ve simply been fitted with recordings of women talking dirty to encourage you from putting your rubbish exactly where it’s supposed to go.

I’m on the fence about whether this is totally weird or somewhat genius.

To discourage people from littering in the streets of Malmo, Sweden’s third largest city, two local rubbish bins have been fitted with audio recordings of women talking dirty when items are placed inside them.

The idea of the campaign is to draw attention to a nasty habit: people throwing their unwanted garbage on the ground – which ultimately ends up in the natural environment.

In 2017, the Malmo council bought 18 talking bins which praised people for disposing of their waste correctly, and later adapted them to thank them for social distancing throughout the pandemic.

But recently, the city council thought that it was time for a change. A sexy change.


When Malmo’s city-dwellers properly discard of their rubbish in the speaker-fitted bins, they are met with a sensual female voice proclaiming one of three statements in Swedish:

‘Oh, right there, yes!’

‘Come back soon and do that again!’

‘Mmm, a bit more to the left next time.’

Apparently, the voice belongs to a famous woman from Sweden, though she does not want her identity revealed to the public. How risqué.

It’s a creative, if not giggle-inducing approach to raising awareness about the subject of proper waste disposal, which many of us pay little attention to since it is, after all, pretty dirty stuff.

Globally, we send 2.12 billion tons of waste to landfill each year. But Sweden isn’t a huge contributor to this figure. It has a great waste management program and sends only 1 percent of its garbage to such places.

At least 52 percent of the Scandinavian country’s waste is converted into energy and the remaining 47 percent is recycled. This energy heats one million homes and directs electricity to over 250,000 households.

Thanks to its circular approach to waste, the nation’s carbon emissions have dropped by 30 percent since 1990 – and falling still. Sweden has been heralded for taking giant steps toward a ‘green revolution’.


Though a heated home and working electricity sounds like a pretty good trade-off for making sure rubbish ends up in the right places, Sweden has been covering all the bases to keep its streets litter-free.

You may remember that Sweden trained crows – yes, the birds – to collect and dispose of cigarette butts found around its cities. A good initiative, when 4.5 trillion cigarette filters are already polluting oceans, beaches, rivers, streets, parks, and soils worldwide.

Surveys revealed that 75 percent of people said they littered at least once in the last 5 years, despite most governments issuing fines for the illegal act. In the UK, individuals can be fined up to £150 for a single offence and £2,500 if taken to court over it.

Judging by the state of London parks after an especially sunny weekend, the slim possibility of being fined for littering isn’t enough to convince some to walk a few extra steps to the bins.

But if a bit of harmless dirty talk is what it would take to get people to get into the habit of proper waste disposal, can I really argue with that?




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