Noel or Liam Gallagher? The new Manchester city centre bins asking the city's big questions

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Mancunians can have their say on the these hot topics simply by throwing away their rubbish.

Manchester city centre has some new bins that are not only encouraging people to tidy up after themselves, but also vote on some of today’s most pressing issues – like which Gallagher brother do you prefer, Noel or Liam?

There are three Big Ballot Bins in total, all located on commuter routes around Piccadilly. Each bin uses sensors to detect where people are throwing away their rubbish, and digital screens show people the current tally.

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The two other issues up for debate are the age-old question of barm vs muffin and, to mark the highly-anticipated release of both films later this week, Barbie vs Oppenheimer.

The new Big Ballot Bins in Manchester city centre.  Photo: Lee McLean/SWNSThe new Big Ballot Bins in Manchester city centre.  Photo: Lee McLean/SWNS
The new Big Ballot Bins in Manchester city centre. Photo: Lee McLean/SWNS | Lee McLean/SWNS

Summer is one of the worst times of the year for litter as more people spend time outdoors, which is why Manchester City Council have launched the scheme now, together with environmental charity Hubbub and in partnership with KFC. The council also want people to share their results online, using the hashtag #PickYourSideMCR.

The impact of the project will be analysed by environmental tech company Ellipsis Earth, which will measure litter levels around the bins using AI. The data will then be analysed alongside results from a similar campaign in Southampton to see if it could also be successfully rolled out elsewhere in the country.

Hubbub also recently launched a similar scheme in Ancoats with smoking bins. You can find them around Cutting Room Square.

The new Big Ballot Bins in Manchester city centre. Photo: Lee McLean/SWNSThe new Big Ballot Bins in Manchester city centre. Photo: Lee McLean/SWNS
The new Big Ballot Bins in Manchester city centre. Photo: Lee McLean/SWNS | Lee McLean/SWNS

What have the organisers said?

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Councillor Lee-Ann Igbon, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Vibrant Neighbourhoods, said: "I am pleased that we’re teaming up with Hubbub to launch this new scheme in the city centre. This initiative is one of the many innovative ways that the Council are trying to reduce littering in the city and encourage people to put their rubbish in the bin.

"By getting people voting we hope that residents will be encouraged to vote on funny topics, and throw their rubbish in the bins, keeping our streets clean. “

Gavin Ellis, director and co-founder at Hubbub, commented "Since we created the Ballot Bin voting ashtray back in 2016 and saw it successfully nudging smokers to bin their butts, Hubbub has wanted to test the same approach with litter bins.

"We’re always looking for creative ways to reduce littering and we hope the new Big Ballot Bins, which are built based on proven behaviour change principles, will do just that. We’ll be tracking the impact they have through independent, scientific measurement”.

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