Common Works

Credits In Collaboration with Hubbub, Westminster Council and Instrument PD
Overview The Ballot Bin is a unique ashtray which encourages public engagement through participation in customisable polls

The Ballot Bin was originally built as a one off installation to try and incentivise people to correctly dispose of their cigarette butts. Commissioned by Hubbub and Westminster council as part of their wider Neat Streets campaign, the bin invites users to cast their vote on a changeable topic by inserting their cigarette butt into one of two chambers.

The original idea came from from noticing a trend towards polling or asking questions across social media platforms to drive high-engagement with a brand or topic. We set about transferring this thinking into a physical installation that was customisable, engaging and playful, but without any technology or moving parts, with minimal upkeep.

Not only did the installation contribute to a reduction of litter it also helped highlight the wider issue of cigarette butts – which cost the council approximately £3.8M (City of London) a year to clean. Cigarette butts make up one-third of all litter in the UK and can be found on 99%* of town centre streets. Retail areas have four times as much cigarette litter as main roads. The Ballot Bin has proven to reduce cigarette litter on busy streets by 74%**.

Video courtesy of Hubbub

The original 'voting ashtray'

After the success of the campaign, and the project going viral with a  reach of over 6 million people, the bin got redesigned for manufacture at scale by Instrument PD. The new design is made from powder coated steel and reinforced glass, and a changeable magnetic sign to allow easily updatable questions through whiteboard marker or magnetic lettering. The new bin is available to buy from the e-commerce site built and designed by Common Works, which has allowed the bin to been shipped globally, with distribution in  Australia and South America. Customers have included: Sky, McDonald’s, Ikea, UCL and H&M.

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