Trash Trivia

Like in many cities around the world, the people of San José, Costa Rica have strong feelings about trash. For instance, for some, neighborhood trash bins are an eyesore and for others the trash service doesn’t come frequently enough. This project explored the opportunity to ensure that people throw away their trash when on the streets of the city and create a sense of responsibility to the rest of the community.  More specifically, the project team was interested in the following question: How might we make throwing trash away fun, engaging, and easy? 

Trash Trivia is a trash bin that serves as a playful medium to connect people with their surrounding community and ensure that the streets stay clean.  It’s simple to use. First, people can see a trivia question about the local neighborhood posted on the trash bin. Second, in order to get the answer to the trivia question, one must throw away trash in the correct section of the bin (there are two sections – true/false). Lastly, once the trash is in the bin, you can see the answer to that question. By “throwing something away, and learning something new,” people can throw away their trash in a fun and engaging way and connect with fellow community members in the process.

In order to develop Trash Trivia, several key techniques were used. The team first needed to test if people would be willing to use trash as a way to vote. In order to understand this, the team interviewed a random sample of people in San Jose with a low-fidelity prototype to gauge people’s interest. Next, we created a higher fidelity prototype using an I-pad to see what types of questions people would want or be willing to answer. These public experiments were key to developing the concept and prototypes.