Wasted food is a serious problem, inspiring everything from apps to find your leftovers a home to restaurants that frankenstein your meal from expired ingredients. A new solution, the Animal-Friendly Trash Can, tackles food waste and hungry strays at the same time (with cute cat ears, no less!):


Most of the inner chamber is your typical trash can, but there’s a separate space at the bottom with a pull-out tray for any edible trash. (The tray makes it both easier for cleaning and for you to dispose of your lunch remains.) The can’s designers, Professor Bao Haimo and a team of four students, won an honorable mention in 2013’s Red Dot Design contest for their creation. The designers provide some context:

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In many towns and cities, stray cats and dogs wander the streets. Some of them die due to starvation. Others jump into trashcans in search of food, potentially becoming locked inside. Meanwhile, 1,300 million tons of food are wasted around the world every year.


Several concerns: First, not all human food is OK for animals (see: dogs and chocolate). And the trash can seemingly skips right over homeless people who might want your leftovers. Finally, if the main concern is animal welfare, why not emphasize spaying and neutering instead?

It might not be perfect, but at least the Animal-Friendly Trash Can is another sign people want to address food waste. Maybe it’ll even keep those raccoons outta your yard.

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