Why are French cities full of bins with questions on them?

Why are French cities full of bins with questions on them?
Photo: Joséphine Brueder / Ville de Paris
Springing up across French cities in recent months are bins posing burning questions such as - 'working out or eating cheese?' or'Star Wars or Star Trek?'
This is the latest attempt to clear up French sidewalks of cigarette butts. In order to encourage smokers not to throw their filters on the ground, several cities across the country gambled on a playful alternative to regular bins: poll ashtrays in which you can cast your vote on the issues of the day while throwing away your cigarette end.

In cities including Nice, Nantes, Paris, Laval and Dijon, smokers now can throw their cigarette ends in cendriers-sondages, aka poll ashtrays. Questions will vary according to the city, mixing specifically local debates to more random ones.

Some cities will even opt for a more educational approach such as in Caudry, in northern France. ''Un mégot de cigarette pollue jusqu'à: 200 ou 500 litres d'eau?'' – A cigarette butt can pollute up to: 200 or 500 litres of water?

But a majority of town halls are choosing a more lighthearted approach such as in Lille, where one bin asks smokers ''Sport ou raclette?'' – ''Working out or eating raclette?''


In Paris, 30 ashtrays have been installed in 18 streets of the capital. Parisians will now be able to cast their vote and settle debates such as ''Pont Neuf or Pont des Arts?'', ''Quinoa or burger?'' and even ''Star Trek or Star Wars?''


Back in April already, students from la Sorbonne University initiated a poll to answer one of the burning question shaking up the world of French rap: Kaaris or Booba? 


Whether educational or comical, poll ashtrays are slowly making their way on to France's sidewalks – more than 400 were installed over the past two years.



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