A game would be great. It's already a puzzle to figure out what goes where. If it's made easy with correct labeling and combined with fanfare as you mention in the description, it could be really fun.
Maybe the fanfare only goes off after something is dropped in and the lid is closed. This way people can check the contents of the bin before they drop something in.
If we wanted to make a test project we would need to do some coding and EE. You could power an arduino, speaker and LED's with a small solar panel and battery. I looked into the components and found these links:
I love this idea. By reusing what we throw away we spend less energy on creating new products. As you mentioned, the issue is education and awareness. People don’t know what goes where. Phil had a great idea to address this with color coding used in some existing trash solutions I have seen at local fairs as well as in the bins used in our municipal systems. Some systems use photos as examples of bin content.
One of the issues in sorting waste is getting people to notice the recycling label and numbers on the bottles. If the waste cans are in a public place. Maybe the user is required to open a lid shaped like the correct label. This would force people to interact and maybe look for the label on the waste.
We could also do things like: campaign for more prominent labeling on recyclables create educational videos for television and youtube alter existing trash cans in a way that informs people of the correct contents create a new way of labeling which is more identifiable (not the same triangle with only a small number inside that changes for the product type)
Also, are we looking to sort trash better at home, businesses, or in public places?