29 March 2012

The Test Tubes

Copenhagen has a trash challenge at hand. The City's single solution to the problem so far has been to dispatch costly cleaning crews. Living by the lakes, where people march around with paper cups of coffee, and crossing the bridge every day, I have grown frustrated with the piles of trash.


You get the sense that at least some of them intend to hit the trashcan, but that is as far as they will go. Maybe some have carried their cups for several overloaded cans, because they all look like this at the end of the day on Sundays. And sunny days.

Last week I stopped to take more pictures of the trash at the bridge, and I could feel the anger building up inside. "Look at this mess?" I said out loud to no one. Someone replied "it isn't ours" and I knew that was probably the case, but I got increasingly annoyed all the same. Winding up speaking in a really loud tone. Very counterproductive, don't think I didn't know that at the time.


Right next to the overloaded trashcan... 



I mean: come on?!

When I got home I decided this was the wrong approach. I certainly don't respond well to people yelling at me, or treating me like a child. I wanted to wrap my brain around the problem, and see if I could come up with a solution. Obviously it would have to be something that would make people play along. I came up with the Test Tubes:


Painting. Empty Cups, minus lids. Messing it up big time (new found respect for stencil artists...), ended up doing it by hand.



Drilling.


The Test Tubes. 

The solution?

Day 1.


Day 3. Some people you just can't reach, haha.

When the tube is full (freeing the small trashcan for different kinds of trash), all you have to do is flip the Test Tube, pull out the bottom-stick, and empty it. I couldn't wait to see them in action. I mounted the two on Saturday, and meant to give them a full week before reporting back to you, but the experiment was cut short. The Test Tube report:

Day 1: No vandalism. No cups on the ground. A few cups in one tube.
Day 2: No vandalism. No cups on the ground. A few more cups in both tubes.
Day 3: No vandalism. No cups on the ground. Both tubes filling up.
Day 4: No vandalism. No cups on the ground. Both tubes almost full.
Day 5: No vandalism. No cups on the ground. Both tubes emptied, yay! This means the City got it too?
Day 6: Removed by the City of Copenhagen. I guess the answer to my previous question would be "no", then?

The way I see it, the Test Tubes was a success. If you can make people play along in only five days, there is no limit to how we can play our way out of this mess. I am not done. Not by a long shot.

************
UPDATE

The Test Tubes won't be silenced:

In The Copenhagen Post (English)
And a follow-up in The Copenhagen Post (English)
So I made them a page on Facebook, if you want to follow their progress:




52 comments:

  1. Removed!!? Hvor mærkeligt.

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    1. Ja, det kom faktisk også bag på mig. Troede lige et øjeblik dér at alle var ombord.

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  2. Oh, that's wonderful! Keep at it, and I can't wait to see what you do in the future!

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    1. I am encouraged to approach the City. That could be the next step. No matter what I am going to keep moving. :-)

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    2. Wouldn't that be awesome if, in the future, you could point to all the cup-holders on the side of the trash cans, and say "I started that." :)

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    3. Huh, yes. That would be the ultimate satisfaction, to know you have helped solve even a small part of the trash problem.

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  3. Sandra du er genial!

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  4. Hvor er du sej!!! Respekt... :D

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  5. Du er også min helt Sandra!

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    1. Åh, jeg bliver så glad altså! :D

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  6. They caught my eye yesterday at around 19, as I sat by the opposite side of the bridge waiting for a friend! I thought "that is so smart" but I was too lazy to cross the road (it was sooooooo windy) and have a close look, and now that it was you, I regret I didn't, it was a genius move! I hope someone picks it up and makes it go viral all over town :)

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    1. It was crazy windy, I came home with half of the dust of the city in my mouth and nose and ears. I am glad you noticed the Test Tubes! I hope a lot of people did, and that some of those who used it, will wonder where it went, and want it back. :-)

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  7. I can't help but find the city is very dirty...it's so messy to the point that I don't think tourists will appreciate the city as much as they should.

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    1. It is very dirty, and it doesn't deserve it. We need to change our ways, and the city needs a different approach. The resources spent picking up after people could be used in much better ways.

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  8. Hvor er det bare godt gået - jeg så dem faktisk mens de stadig var der ! Genial idé. Mystisk at Kommunen ikke lader dem hænge. Og hvor har du bare ret der er alt for meget skrald der ligger og flyder ved søerne!

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    1. Ja, det er lidt ærgerligt at de ikke så igennem fingre med dem lidt længere. Der er uhyggeligt meget skrald, og det værste er at det blæser i søerne.

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  9. Replies
    1. Thank you Nova! (and yay for surviving the evil captcha check, haha)

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    2. It was a grueling test, but I passed!

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  10. Great idea! Don't give up.

    Just curious, how did you attach the tubes to the trash cans?

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    1. Thank you, I won't. :-)

      The tubes was attached at the side with a single bolt, to one of the upper holes in the trashcan.

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  11. Ja, total meget respekt og vildt godt tænkt. High five herfra.

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  12. This is awesome! I wish they didn' remove them, the time they make some new ones ;)

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    1. Thank you Carole, I actually miss them. It was a nice feeling riding by every day, and checking up on them. :-)

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  13. Sejt! Det er da en fantastisk ide. Af sted til kommunen med dig, så de fremover lader være med at pille et sådant tegn på genialitet ned!

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    1. Mange tak. Jeg drukner altid lidt når det kommer til papirarbejdet, argh, inden man har lokaliseret det sted der skal søges, og har printet og udfyldt den rigtige formular i hvem ved hvor mange eksemplarer, er jeg jo visnet. Haha.

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  14. Immensely Useful and Artistic at the same time, Høj. Wow what a splendid idea. I´m going to tell people to look at this.

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    1. Thank you very much Bert. Do spread the word!

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  15. huttelihut, det' genialt det der!!!! det er en fan-f......-tastisk idé og simpelthen så generøst, at du bare gav den til byen (jeg siger: patentkontoret = internationalt kendt, fejret, rig sandra aka the trash-tube-millionaire)... så bare ærgeligt, at byen ikke altid kan se kvaliteten af de gaver den får (spule, vaske, skure, fjerne....) -sandra, I absolutly love you!
    kh muttilove

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    1. Tusinde tak Muttilove, der er ingen der spreder kærlighed som dig!

      Jeg må have fat i afdeligen for miljø og teknik på mandag. Lidt svært at overskue hvordan jeg griber det an, men ideen fungerer og jeg ved også hvordan den kan gennemføres praktisk, i det rigtige materiale, og jeg her endnu flere ideer. Aaah, jeg eksloderer, haha.

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  16. Sandra,
    This is exactly why all of us who follow you love you!

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  17. Awesome job! Instead of taking them down, the city should be cheering you on to make more and then hiring you as their consultant! :) Super cool!

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    1. Thank you, Celena. I need to let them know I exist, I think. And I have a ton of ideas for keeping my city clean, it would be so much fun to try and make it happen. :-)

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  18. Genius!!! Hopefully just removed to make improved versions? Otherwise stupid to remove them! Well done!!!

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    1. I doubt it. But now that I think about it, I should have written my contact info inside the tube, just in case, haha.

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  19. This is souch a good idea, Sandra. Respect! New grass root ideas on city corners makes a bikeride worth much more than the transportation. Makes me so much enjoy living in copenhagen. Very inspirering to meet new ideas on your way, to follow them, and see if they are gonna disappeir or stay. Gives one the feeling of being in a living city, where new ideas bloom and grow. Some to stay, some to go. It´s the perfect time of year to put a ship like that in the lake. Maybe you can get the project sponsered... Greetings ´Snerting.

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    1. It would be fantastic if the idea survives, there is a lot of places in Copenhagen where the tubes could be attached the the trashcans. Not all, but on special locations. As an experiment I could see maybe 20 of them all over Copenhagen, ah, that would be so cool. I need to talk to some people who can make that happen!

      Thank you for the encouraging words, Snerting. :-)

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  20. This is a genius idea, I am woth Kaffe... they took them to improve version, make more and implement them all over city! Very welll done, I just love the way you "take care" of your hometown!
    You should claim the idea!!!!

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    1. Well after this overwhelming positive response, I am encouraged to contact the city and offer my services. If nothing else, it is going to be interesting to see how things work in the upper layers. And I do claim the idea, haha. I love my Test Tubes, and I was sorry to see them go, keeping an eye on them was so cosy. :D

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  21. Wow - so clever and rapid prototyping approach. Love it! Can't stop laughing of the "background" on the stencil photo: Revyernes Guldplade - what a nice use for that ;-)

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    1. Haha, I was wondering if anyone would notice the "background". I do love the "just do it" approach and instant results, waiting was always the hardest part for me. Unless it comes in the form of procrastinating. :D

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  22. make a businessplan, start a company and go sell the idea to the minister and things might happen, maby even go to the media with the initiative to give it a boost. Gettin people to see it and see that there are easy cheap solutions to the problem is the key.

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    1. So far I am not impressed with the response (as in none) from the city's cleaning department... I am contemplating an updated version of the Test Tube, that will not succumb to water and wear as easy.

      Next launch will come with a fanfare. Or something.

      Thank you for the advice, it is much appreciated!

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