Alexa and your Echo speaker are useful for more than just playing some music while you do the dishes or letting you know when your Amazon parcel has been dispatched. With a bit of lateral thinking, Alexa can be a helping hand in even the most mundane tasks in your life, including remembering to take the right bin out.
If you are fed up with having to check the local authority website every week to remind yourself which dustbin is due to be collected, Alexa reminders hold the answer. If you only ever have to put one bin out (as in the same bin each week), setting a reminder is incredibly easy. Just say:
Alexa, remind me to put the bin out every Thursday at 7pm
This is the simplest solution, taking just one command to set up. The reminder will continue to play at the set time each week until you tell it to stop. Obviously you can change the command to whatever day your dustbin needs to go out (or the night before).
If, like many, you have two or more different bins to put out on alternating weeks (general waste and recycling for example), the process is more labour-intensive, but once it is set up you shouldn’t have to worry about it again for many months.
Firstly, you will need to visit that local authority website one more time, to make a note of the dates of each different bin’s collection. Once you have the dates for several months ahead, you can start to command Alexa. Say:
Alexa, remind me to take the green bin out on the 25th of April at 7pm
Alexa, remind me to take the black bin out on the 2nd of May at 7pm
Alexa, remind me to take the green bin out on the 9th of May at 7pm
Repeat this for as many dates into the future as you want. It is a bit labourious, but once you have spent ten minutes doing this, you won’t have to worry again for months. Alternatively, if you always remember that the bin needs to go out, but only have trouble remembering which one it is, you can cut the process in half by only asking to be reminded when the general/recycling bin needs to go out. If you hear no reminder, you know it is the week for the other bin.
As an alternative method, we tried to give Alexa an “every other week” command e.g.
Alexa, remind me take the green bin out every other/every second Thursday at 7pm
Alexa, remind me to take the black bin out on the 25th, 9th, 23rd, etc.
Sadly, this doesn’t work…
There are a few Skills available for setting up dustbin collection reminders, but most seem to just give you instructions to do what we just laid out above.