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Recycling Bins in Edmonton to Sing the Blues


EDMONTON – Apartment and condo dwellers in parts of Edmonton will soon be serenaded by their recycling bins.

Motion sensors are being installed in 400 blue bins citywide. When the lids on the bins are opened, the sensors will trigger sound devices to play one of two 30-second blues tunes.

It’s part of a $160,000 “blue bin blues” campaign to get Edmontonians to stop dumping inappropriate items in the bins while also encouraging people to recycle more.

“When you go to recycle, you may hear your blue bin singing to you,” said Connie Boyce, the city’s director of community relations.

Typical items inappropriately dumped into blue bins include garden hoses, wires and Christmas lights, she said.

Boyce said the items get wrapped around machinery at the sorting facility, which can cause the whole plant to be temporarily shut down.

Paints, motor oils, butcher knives, needles and even guns have been found in blue bins, she said, posing a danger to the workers who must sort through the contents of the bins.

Boyce said the one-of-a-kind promotion was devised after the number of building dwellers who recycle recently dropped to 80% from 90%.

She said she’s not aware of any other city that has singing recycling bins.

Boyce acknowledged it’s possible some of the singing units may be stolen and some may not work at all times.

“But we’ve got a few hundred out there, so some people will definitely be surprised when they go out there to recycle.”

Motion sensors are expected to be installed in the bins by the end of the week. Each one costs the city about $10.

The campaign runs until the end of June.

There are about 1,600 blue bins at apartment, condo and townhouse complexes throughout Edmonton.

The tunes are sung by local musician Hank Leonhardt. More here.

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