Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Bins Revisited

I blogged about bins last year (click the label) and there was a lively comment debate, in particular concerning regional variations in colour coding.  I felt at the time that there was more to it, and now I know I was right.

Visiting my relatives in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead on Monday, I volunteered after dinner to take a bag of rubbish out.  I knew the colours – this was landfill hence black – and there was enough twilight left to tell the three bins apart, and indeed to see the detail of them.  For some reason, possibly to do with Rioja, I lingered and looked more closely.  They were all structurally similar, as wheelie bins tend to be, but there were subtle differences.  Looking even more closely, I realised that, according to the embossed information on the lids, they had been made by three different manufacturers.  And even more intriguing (are you gripped yet?), I didn’t recognise any of the names.

When I got home on Tuesday I checked my three bins, and I was right: they were from yet another three sources.  That makes six.  Now, I’m not going to go into the economics or logistics of this, but it does strike me as curious.  If two nearly-adjoining local authorities can between them come up with six separate wheelie bin suppliers, how will this look when spread out across the whole country?   I felt momentarily queasy, as if I was scratching the surface of what might prove to be some kind of unguessed alternative reality, in which wheelie bins were secretly replicating, disguising themselves in their pursuit of world domination.   But that’s not all.

My niece from Jersey, who was over here showing off my brand new great-nephew, had recently moved house and so needed a new bin.  (In the Socialist Republic, sorry, States of Jersey they generously charge you £40 for one, by the way.)  She duly applied, and was told that there was a six week waiting list.  In Jersey.  Wondering why, she was informed: “They get stolen.”

What’s going on?


  1. There are a list of things I have no idea why people steal what they steal which include:

    anything from Primark
    shopping trolleys

    And I've now added wheelie bins.

    I'm still asking 'why?'

  2. You shouldn't get so worked up about bins until your next birthday. Then it's compulsory.

  3. This sounds like the fear index.

  4. The wheelie bins at £40 get stolen because they cost £40. Much cheaper to go and nick one from down the road...

  5. I've just been out to check and our bins are both made by the same company. I can't quite believe that I've so compromised my customary vagueness by learning the name of a wheelie bin manufacturer, but you may take the credit for it, if that's the appropriate word.

  6. I wasn't going to re-comment on this, because I thought my boredom threshold experiment had failed (I expected zero comments), but I've noticed that the red bins (as opposed to the black ones pretending to be red) are from yet another manufacturer.
    And Sarah, think about it. We're talking Jersey here.

  7. You do make me laugh Tim.