Jennifer Caleshu, Director of Communications of the fantastic Bay Area Discovery Museum, sends this terrific example of emotionally intelligent signage from the trash cans at the new California Academy of Sciences.

Notice how the third sign really makes you stop, think, empathize, and (probably) change your behavior.

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8 Responses to “Emotionally intelligent trash can signage”

  1. Bryan says:

    Very cool idea on this signage Daniel, it would be great if more functions like this included thoughtful terminology. For example, perhaps elevators could be called “power stairs” so that people will think twice about using them to go 3 floors.

  2. Simon West says:

    Great idea, marred slightly by the imperative aspect of the Landfill icon, which may direct the inattentive to dump their trash in that particular can. A more visually relevant pictogram (perhaps a pile/heap of some kind) might have reinforced the message without distorting the feel.

  3. Julia Dubner says:

    As a recent visitor to the CA Acad of Sciences (April 2009), I had a couple problem with those emotionally intelligent trash cans. The labels were completely rubbed off and unreadable, so people were throwing random trash/recyclables into all three bins. I also had no idea if my brown cardboard tray was recyclable or compostable. My predominant emotions while standing in front of the silver bay of bins: confusion and frustration. Great concept, faulty execution. (Admittedly, with a $25/person entrance fee, long lines, and $8 sandwiches, my expectations may have been a bit high.)

  4. I like it but think it will be a pretty abstract point for some folks. We might want to believe everyone would understand compost and landfill, but judging by the behavior I see around me here in Indiana, I know that’s not going to be the case.

  5. Paul C says:

    I really like the stainless steel uniformity and design. It’s a visual eye sore to see gaudy plastic containers in glaring red, blue, and green…

  6. Tom Aplomb says:

    Ahh, the brilliance of labeling! Trash, garbage, refuse, is all stuff that gets picked up and carted away without another thought. But landfill, there’s a label that tells us what actually happens with it. Maybe our new administration could pass some truth in labeling laws. How about starting with “environment wrecker” for SUVs that get 10 gpm (gallons per mile)?

  7. anna says:

    I love it! It reminds of trashcans that I see around Tokyo,Japan: the newer trashcans that kind of look similar to the picture you’ve posted are often seen in the new buildings at my university. Japanese trash cans also have sticker labels of what is considered ‘burnable’ (trash that you can compost, paper, etc..) and ‘unburnable’ (plastics,..) trash.

  8. It’s that fourth receptacle that struck me. Which leftovers are people supposed to put in there?

    (As a dad of twin eight-year olds, this might be a money-saver.)

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