The innovative voting ashtray designed to address the issue of cigarette butt litter in the UK, by leading UK behavior change charity Hubbub, has gone global as councils, governments, and brands around the world, are making orders for Ballot Bin.
Littering cost the tax-payer as much as £850 million in clean up costs each year. A report from the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee found that chewing gum and cigarettes were found to be the most littered items, while fast-food litter increased by 20% in the last year.
First featured in the Neat Streets campaign run by environmental charity Hubbub, it aims to jolt people out of their normal littering routine by asking fun questions that smokers have an opinion on. The voting ballot bins went viral last year and took social media by storm with the burning question ‘Who’s the best footballer in the world? Ronaldo or Messi’.
By popular demand, Hubbub is launching a website www.ballotbins.co.uk where ballot bins are now for sale – councils, brands and leisure facilities have made orders and ballot bins will be shipped to France, Spain, US, Japan. Leading brand BMW have also ordered the voting ballot bins.
The Ballot Bin is a bespoke ashtray that aims to tackle the issue of cigarette butt litter. A voting system encourages use of the ashtray, allowing the user to vote by choosing one of two slots to dispose of their cigarette butt. Each slot has a window to display the used butts, allowing a public opinion poll to be generated.
The bins and questions asked are customisable; they can take any colour and the questions can be tailored to the interests of local people in the area. Cities around the world are asking topical questions to engage local smokers – from ‘Who will win the premier league – Leicester City or Tottenham?’, to ‘Who will be the next US President – Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump?’ to ‘Brexit – In or Out?’.
Other countries that have shown interest in replicating the Ballot Bin campaign and installing the ballot bins are South Korea, Canada, Belgium, USA, France, Tokyo, Switzerland, Spain, Denmark, Netherlands, Indonesia, Germany and Italy.
Trewin Restorick, CEO/Founder of Hubbub comments: “The voting bin is a simple solution that has provoked an incredibly positive response. We’ve had requests from around the world for the bin with many countries wondering how they can change the questions to reflect their country’s culture and interests. So we have taken the plunge and are now scaling up production so that we can sell the bins to tackle the issue of litter in a fun and engaging way.”
The idea of the Ballot Bins is based on the best methods and research findings on how to stop cigarette littering. Hubbub found that litter was mainly generated at night by young men and that cigarette butts are the biggest litter issue in the UK. 35,2% of smokers litter, followed by 26% of people eating chewing gum. The voting bin was a response to these research findings and the sport focused questions reflect the interests of the audience they are trying to reach.
Observational research showed that 29% of correct disposals corresponded to people using the voting bin whilst it was in on the street.
None of the collected cigarette butts will go to landfill. As part of the campaign, Hubbub is developing an innovative partnership with TerraCycle who recycle cigarette butts into a variety of useful plastic products, such as plastic lumber and boards that can be used for items like construction holding, signage and table tops. http://www.terracycle.co.uk/en-UK/brigades/cigarette-waste-brigade.
First council in London to pioneer Ballot Bins
Sutton will be the first council to introduce the ballot bins. Hubbub is working with Sutton Council to deliver Clean Streets Sutton – a litter reduction campaign that aims to build civic pride and change behaviour towards littering.
Cllr Jill Whitehead, Chair of the Environments and Neighbourhood Committee at Sutton Council, said: “We are delighted to be using the ballot bins as part of a range of measures for our Clean Streets Sutton campaign.
“Changing the behaviour of those who litter is crucial to having a clean, safe environment in our town centers, and also in saving money for the taxpayer. We spend millions each year clearing up waste, and, at a time when our budgets are being severely cut, any savings can make a big difference.”
Sutton will install the ballot bins on the walls of three pubs on their High Street n their High Street featuring the question: “Who’s your favorite Superhero – Batman or Superman?
As part of the campaign, Hubbub will deliver a striking community photo gallery down the high-street, ballot Bins, gum litter activities, and a campaign at the local school. The activities and installations go live this week with the school campaign day planned on 22nd March 2016.
The Ballot Bins were first introduced as part of Hubbub’s Neat Streets campaign, a social experiment in Villiers Street in London in November last year. Any profits made from the Ballot Bin will go back into the charity and Hubbub’s ongoing work to explore fresh and creative approaches to tackling environmental issues.
The Bins have been available for pre-order on the new website www.ballotbin.co.uk this month.
INCPEN, Litter Composition Survey of England 2014
Build, Buy, Or Retrofit? 3 Green Housing Considerations
Green housing is in high demand, but it’s not yet widely available, posing a serious problem: if you want to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, do you invest in building something new and optimize it for sustainability, or do you retrofit a preexisting building?
The big problem when it comes to choosing between these two options is that building a new home creates more waste than retrofitting specific features of an existing home, but it may be more efficient in the long-run. For those concerned with waste and their environmental footprint, the short term and long term impacts of housing are in close competition with each other.
New Construction Options
One reason that new construction is so desired among green living enthusiasts is that it can be built to reflect our highest priorities. Worried about the environmental costs of heating your home? New construction can be built using passive solar design, a strategy that uses natural light and shade to heat or cool the home. Builders can add optimal insulation, build with all sustainable materials, and build exactly to the scale you need.
In fact, scale is a serious concern for new home buyers and builders alike. Individuals interested in green housing will actively avoid building more home than they need – scaling to the square foot matter because that’s more space you need to heat or cool – and this is harder to do when buying. You’re stuck with someone else’s design. In this vein, Missouri S&T’s Nest Home design, which uses recycled shipping containers, combines the tiny home trend with reuse and sustainability.
The Simple Retrofit
From an environmental perspective, there’s an obvious problem with building a new home: it’s an activity of mass consumption. There are already 120 million single-family homes and duplexes in the United States; do we really need more?
Extensive development alone is a good enough reason to intelligently retrofit an existing home rather than building new green structures, but the key is to do so with as little waste as possible. One option for retrofitting older homes is to install new smart home technology that can automate home regulation to reduce energy use.
Real estate agent Roxanne DeBerry sees clients struggle with issues of efficiency on a regular basis. That’s why she recommends tools like the Nest Thermostat, which develops a responsive heating and cooling schedule for the home and can be remotely adjusted via smartphone. Other smart tools for home efficiency include choosing Energy Star appliances and installing water-saving faucets and low-pressure toilets. These small changes add up.
Ultimately, the most effective approach to green housing is likely to be aggressive retrofitting of everything from period homes to more recent construction. This will reduce material use where possible and prevent further aggressive land use. And finally, designers, activists, and engineers are coming together to develop such structures.
In the UK, for example, designers are interested in finding ways to adapt period houses for greater sustainability without compromising their aesthetics. Many have added solar panels, increased their insulation levels, and recently they even developed imitation sash triple glazed windows. As some have pointed out, the high cost of heating these homes without such changes will push these homes out of relevance without these changes. This is a way of saving existing structures.
Harvard is also working on retrofitting homes for sustainability. Their HouseZero project is designed for near-zero energy use and zero carbon emissions using geothermal heating and temperature radiant surfaces. The buildings bridge the gap between starting over and putting up with unmanageable heating and cooling bills.
It will take a long time to transition the majority of individuals to energy efficient, green housing but we’re headed in the right direction. What will your next home be like? As long as the answer is sustainable, you’re part of the solution to our chronic overuse – of land, energy, water, and more.
How the Auto Industry is Lowering Emissions
Currently, the automotive industry is undergoing an enormous change in a bid to lower carbon emissions. This has been pushed by the Government and their clean air plans, where they have outlined a plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
Public Health Crisis
It is said that the levels of air pollution lead to 40,000 early deaths in the UK, with London being somewhere that is particularly bad. This has led to the new T-Charge, where heavy polluting cars will pay a new charge on top of the existing congestion charge. Other cities have taken action too, with Oxford recently announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel cars from the city centre by 2020.
It is clear that the Government is taking action, but what about the auto industry? With the sale of petrol and diesel plummeting and a sharp rise in alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is clear that the industry is taking note and switching focus to green cars. There are now all kinds of fantastic eco-friendly cars available and a type to suit every motorist whether it is a small city car or an SUV.
Of course, it is the cars that are currently on the road that are causing the problem. The used car market is enormous and filled with polluting automobiles, but there are steps that you can take to avoid dangerous automobiles. It is now more important than ever to get vehicle checks carried out through HPI, as these can reveal important information about the automobile’s past and they find that 1 in 3 cars has a hidden secret of some kind. Additionally, they can now perform recall checks to see if the manufacturer has recalled that particular automobile. This allows people to shop confidently and find vehicles that are not doing as much damage to the environment as others.
With the rise in sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is now becoming increasingly more common to see them on UK roads. Public perception has changed drastically in the last few years and this is because of the air pollution crisis, as well as the fact that there are now so many different reasons to switch to electric cars, such as Government grants and no road tax. A similar change in public opinion has happened in the United States, with electric car sales up by 47% in 2017.
The US is leading the way for lowering emissions as they have declined by 758 million metric tons since 2005, which is the largest amount by far with the UK in second with a decline of 170 million metric tons. Whilst it is clear that these two nations are doing a good job, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to improve the air quality and stop so many premature deaths as a result of pollution.
With the Government’s plans, incentives to make the change and a change in public perception, it seems that the electric car revolution is fully underway.