Solving cigarette littering through bursts of song

Summary:Could the unusual approach of musical rewards prevent smokers from dropping butts on the floor?


Littering fines, campaigns and chastisements haven't prevented trillions of cigarette butts finding their way on to city streets across the globe. It's a big problem, but whether or not a new, entertaining way to encourage smokers to use bins works is debatable.

Fumo is a creative anti-littering campaign which uses music and entertainment to entice smokers to use bins. At least, that's the intention.

Appealing to curious natures, a light-equipped Fumo bin begins to blink as a smoker approaches it. Every time a cigarette butt is then thrown inside a Fumo bin, the object puts on a show, complete with a musical ditty and flashing lights.

In Dutch tests, however, people seemed to enjoy the idea. One of the designers, Raymond Reints, said:

"What really surprised us is that people actually started picking up cigarette butts to put them in the pole, just to get an extra taste of what it can do."

But why music, lights and fanfare for putting litter in its proper place? According to Reints:

"We believe that using fun as a methodology to cause some certain behavior is much more effective than creating laws or restrictions. If you can get people to enjoy the message that you want to bring them, then you'll have a much bigger impact with the message itself."

Of course, we can't forget that sometimes there are simply no bins to be found on city streets -- and so the behavior of some smokers is only part of the problem.

Read on: Fast Co.Exist


This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

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