John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
The gaping-mouthed receptacles are meant to awaken one's inner parent.
Walk around any major city, and it won't be long before you find that some dingus has hucked a newspaper or soda can on the ground.
What's wrong with these litterers—can they not find a recycling bin? That's not exactly the problem, at least in Hong Kong, according to designer Kin Wai Michael Siu. Interviews and "intensive observations" he's conducted have taught him that many people just don't want to touch the bins because they can be gross and janky-looking:
The usage of recycling bins in many densely populated cities is still low though recycling has been promoted for years. It is found that many people are more reluctant to use recycling bins because the bins are covered with dirt or damaged.
So Siu has come up with a possible way to increase recycling rates and maintain the integrity of the bins: colorful, cone-shaped receptacles, mimicking the gaping beaks of baby birds. "Green Hunger," as he calls the idea, is meant to awaken your inner parent. After seeing one of these needy, beckoning creatures, who wouldn't want to feed it trash?
The simulated gullets are always open, so people would no longer have to touch the bins. Making things even easier is a Bluetooth device inside that instructs folks which mouth to stuff, given the recyclable they have in hand. And to lighten the "heavy and time-consuming" labor of cleaning the bins, Siu has made the lids out of easy-to-wipe, recyclable plastic, and replaced the standard inner containers with removable bags.
Now, if only he can fix the chicks' weird, single eyeballs: