Talking bins which encourage people to recycle have been installed on Tyneside.
North Tyneside Council is the first local authority in England to provide the solar powered, multi-sensory bins.
Located along the coastal strip, town centres and busy areas, the 21 bins have been funded through the Department of Communities and Local Government.
Council regulatory manager Catherine Lyons, who has responsibility for waste reduction, said: “A chatting bin will be a real talking point and I’m sure many will want to try it out.
“It’s an extremely innovative and engaging way to encourage more people to recycle, and supports the council’s aim of increasing recycling rates in the borough, from 38,000 tonnes collected each year to 45,000 tonnes, by 2017.
“Although we are putting in place a number of initiatives to achieve this target, we also need everyone to understand that waste is not just a council problem and we all have a responsibility to ensure we do our upmost to reduce, reuse and recycle the rubbish we produce.”
The voices that feature within the bins – which will be triggered via a sensor when an item is put in the container – have been provided by local school children and North Tyneside’s Young Mayor, Allen Oghene.
Some of the messages recorded include “Thank you from the young people of North Tyneside for recycling”, “I love recycling – feed me!”, “Great! More recycling, thank you” and “Recycling-only, thank you.”
Youngsters have also taken part in a poster design competition, with the top four winning designs now featuring on the sides on the bins.
The winners from North Shields schools were George Penfold, a pupil at Riverside Primary, 10-year-olds Katie Richardson and Gracie Ward, both from King Edward Primary, and Abbey Mason, from Redesdale Primary School in Wallsend.
As well as the talking bins, all existing roadside recycling containers are set to be replaced and will have double the capacity of the previous ones.
The council’s waste campaign, Changing Our Thinking was launched earlier in the year, and provides rewards and incentives to encourage residents to recycle.
The scheme also gives advice and information to the public on how they can reduce the waste they produce and make use of food leftovers.
Delivered in partnership with Groundwork North East, roadshows have already began to call at supermarkets, community centres and the town centres and will continue over the coming months as well as school assemblies being delivered by the team.
For more information about the campaign and dates of the roadshows, visit www.northtyneside.gov.uk/squash or call 0345 200 0101.