Seeing a bunch of kids swarming around any kind of furball in a petting zoo is quite normal and mostly adorable. Seeing a bunch of kids swarming around a trash can in that same petting zoo made me look closely. In fact it made my day.
Just a few weeks ago, my girlfriend and I were visiting the Woolaroc wildlife preserve in Oklahoma. Woolaroc itself is what’s left of Frank Philips’ (the founder of the Philips Pretroleum Company) private home and has been turned into a public wildlife preserve. It is a pretty tract of land in the middle of nowhere, but more importantly… it is the home of the best trash can in the world.
The trash can I am talking about is the cute little fellow in the picture on top and the first ever trash can that I made photos of or had to tell about to friends and family about. What you see, is a model of a baby buffalo that is hooked up through some sort of vaccum cleaner to a rubbish bin. If you put some light rubbish in front of the mouth of the buffalo, it will simply “eat it” out of your hand.
Long time ago the petting zoo at Woolaroc had a problem. The kids and adults that would come to the petting zoo created a significant amount of litter (Candywrappers and what not). They still do. The problem however was that some litter would be left on the grounds and hence got snacked by some of the animals. That wasn’t too healthy for their diets. The usual educational sign or announcement through the speakers probably didn’t solve the problem, so the people at Woolaroc chose a different angle: Making it fun!
It works, solves a problem and makes people smile. Design par excellence.