Plans are underway to install an interactive, waste-guzzling sculpture in Sunderland city centre and the general public has been asked to help make the vision a reality.


Here’s everything you need to know about Sunderland’s plan to install an interactive waste machine in the city centre… 


Sunderland BID has joined forces with North East-based TA!LAB to design a unique work of art to be sited at Market Square.

And not only will the, as yet unnamed, sculpture provide an attractive addition to the area, but it will have a highly practical and environmental element.

It is designed to replicate a vending machine but, rather than give items out, it will collect products which can then be recycled, with a visual ‘reward’ for the person who contributes.

The machine will have different slots for different kinds of products, such as plastic, glass and metal, which are particularly relevant in a city centre where people may be walking around with bottles or cans of drinks.

The BID hopes it will become a local attraction, not only boosting visitor numbers and the economy, but also helping to teach young people about the need to Recycle.

It has launched a crowdfunding page in the hope of raising £3,558 to create, install and maintain the sculpture. 


Who is TA!LAB and how will the machine work? 

TA!LAB are a North East based company and they’re a collaborative design studio showcasing emerging design talent through architecture and cutting-edge interiors.

TA! stands for Tangible Amusements, and their catchphrase to describe what is created by the intersection of design, space and branding.

An reverse vending machine or is a recycling device with integrated technology that accepts used (empty) beverage containers in return for a monetary or non-monetary reward – these can be for example high-street vouchers, discounts at select retailers or even donations to a local charity.

Most modern day machines collect, sort, compact and store bottles and cans ready for onward recycling. This helps to provide a simple and effective solution to beverage container waste.


Making our city a cleaner, greener and more pleasant place to visit… 



Sharon Appleby, Chief Executive at Sunderland BID:

“This sculpture works on so many levels,” she said, 

“From increasing awareness of the value of recycling, to making our city centre a cleaner, greener and more pleasant place to visit.

“It will also be an invaluable tool in explaining to children from an early age about the importance of recycling – hopefully creating good habits which will last them a lifetime.”


Donations can be made via and pledges will only be charged if the project hits its funding goal of £3,558 by 19 June.



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