Submit photos to #govbins

Four steps to help catalogue a nation’s bins

#govbins is a project to photograph wheelie bins in every UK local council.

It started sort of by accident when I noticed that bin designs varied in different areas. It’s a bit niche; each photo is like a postcard to myself. But it’s been nice and surprising when it’s got some attention (and some excellent puns) from places like The Guardian, The Atlantic and Creative Review.

This quest has ‘bin’ going for over three years. I have taken all the photos myself — travelling to 196 local councils across the country in the process.

But now, for a few reasons, I have decided to open up #govbins and encourage others to help catalogue them all. This feels like a good time to do this — we’re in lockdown. Travel is restricted. Plus it will save carbon from me not bumbling around the county and taking all the photos myself.

It’s hard to give up some control of #govbins, as it's been my baby over the last few years (as my long-suffering family, friends and colleagues will testify to). Yet I am really excited to get more people involved and see all the weird and wonderful bin designs where you live.

So, if you’d like to submit to #govbins, here’s how.

Step 1: check what #govbins are missing 🗺️

Find your local council if you’re not sure which one is yours.

Step 2: take consistent photos 📷

To demonstrate what makes a good, consistent photo, here’s an example. This is a bin from the fictional borough Walford, sent to me in June 2018 by the Eastenders production team (thanks pals!)

Make sure your photo is flat

Taking a flat image is helped by crouching down if you can, as I have on the side on this motorway.

Take your photo with plenty of space around

Take your photo landscape

Take lots of photos and pick the best ones

Step 3: send your photos 📮

When sending photos, include:

  • Local council name
  • Your name (optional, so I can credit you)
  • Your Twitter or Instagram username (optional, again so I can credit you)

Step 4: take credit 💅

Your name and Twitter or Instagram username will be tagged to posts, but only if you decide to give them, of course.

That’s it! I look forward to seeing your images.

If you have any questions or feedback, message me on Twitter or send me an email: harryroberttrimble AT gmail.com.

Head of Design, Made Tech, previously Red Cross, GDS, NHS