How would you feel about a set of transparent wheelie bins sitting outside your home, displaying all of your waste to your neighbours and anyone passing by?
Would it make a difference to what you throw away or would your habits remain the same?
In Australia, this is happening to selected householders!
An environmental campaign called Face Your Waste is moving across the country and trialling clear waste bins for homes where there’s a lot of passing footfall.
Each chosen home receives the bins for one month of use and then has its original wheelie bins returned.
The idea behind the campaign is to put people more in touch with the rubbish they are throwing away.
Currently, for a lot of householders, they create the waste, and it is then taken away by the local council, and forgotten about.
What happens to the waste at the next stage is often not even considered by those who are producing it.
However, the results of this campaign will help Face Your Waste to understand if being able to see the waste will make a difference.
“We want people to look at how they can not generate the waste in the first place or re-use or re-purpose the materials they are recycling.”
Of course, the real problem isn’t people seeing their own waste (although it may very well surprise them), but the thought of neighbours seeing it.
After all, what will Mr Jones at number six think if he sees numerous empty wine bottles in your bin? Will Miss Spencer from number 21 judge you for all those takeaway boxes?
Not only is there the worry of what others might think of what you choose to eat and drink, but there’s the additional paranoia of being judged on how much waste you are producing and what types.
For example, if you’re creating a lot of non-recyclable waste, you may suddenly be very aware of this now the whole street can see it.
There are also other aspects to consider, such as if you wash your recycling before binning it. Unclean recyclables could contaminate a whole batch of recycling, and so this is something you could be judged upon by others.
Behind closed doors, and tucked away in opaque bins, people feel freer to trash whatever they like and however they want, without being judged for it.
Swap the bins for transparent ones, and things could certainly change!
What habits would you change if your waste was under scrutiny?