Austria’s capital is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world. But even Vienna has trouble making trash cans look like more than just grey eyesores.
Instead, the city has created funny stickers of one-liners with double meanings, Austrian jokes and wordplay using German sounds and vocabulary – all the while encouraging people to put their litter in the bin.
Some require a high level of German, while others will elicit a chuckle from those with a very basic level of the language.
One of the first to start appearing on Vienna streets said ‘Hasta la mista, baby?’ (Do you have trash, baby?), a joke using the German word for ‘trash’ (Mist) and the famous Terminator quote ‘hasta la vista, baby’ (which itself is a play on the Spanish ‘hasta la vista’ which means ‘goodbye’).
— Fraeulein Bruenett (@Frl_Bruenett) July 27, 2017
The joke gets an even deeper meaning once you remember (did you forget already?) that former US governor/robot from the future Arnold Schwarzenegger is an Austrian.
The funny sayings on the public trash cans have been a part of the Vienna cityscape since 2009, and there are more than 18,000 waste units in the city, according to the MA 48, Vienna’s waste management and street-cleaning authority.
Now, Vienna is looking for a new addition to the funny bunch, and the city’s MA48 waste and refuge service is throwing several contests on Facebook to pick the winner.
You can vote using different emojis.
The heart emoji votes for something that could be translated as “chilling instead of littering” (excuse our attempts, double-meaning language jokes are almost impossible to translate).
The care emoji votes for “Next stop: trashcan”.
At the time of writing, the fan-favourite is a joke with the sound of the word “trash” in German, which is similar to part of the word “family” in the language. The translation would be “I am part of the family”.
The runner up can be translated as: “I missed you”, also joking with the German word Mist for trash.
Results for this round (there are others!) should be out this Friday when Vienna residents will know which witty one-liner will join others, such as “Open for you around the clock”.
— Maja Ellmenreich (@MEllmenreich) August 2, 2021
Or “one of 18,000 branches”:
Die gibt es in Wien schon seit einigen Jahren😎 Und das steht auf dem Mistkübel (Mülleimern) pic.twitter.com/IQSavpXOHr
— Anna Kling (@anna_kling82) July 6, 2021
There’s no lack of sentences, but one thing is for sure: Ganz Wien Bleibt Clean (All of Vienna will remain clean – it sounds better in German, trust us).
— Kronen Zeitung (@krone_at) October 1, 2018