Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Execution Of Litter Collection Has Not Bin Too Clever

Taste is a much discussed word. Everyone has an opinion on what they think is good taste and what they consider bad taste. Sometimes they are undecided.

Functionality and taste are often at loggerheads, as is trying to be too avant garde, hip or trendy which is sometimes at taste's expense.

Take the British love affair with the litter bin. A very essential part of our lives, because we eat and drink so much and need somewhere to deposit the contents. If we didn't have these invaluable bins, we would soon begin to look like the ditches in China, which are full of multi-coloured plastic bags and other such disposables.

Now here is the dilemma. Look at Durham City, for example, who have spent millions upgrading the city centre to meet the requirements of having a World Heritage Site in their midst. Pavements have been removed, roads re-tiled, new drainage has been put in, statues moved, bollards inserted, new stone seats have been added and there is a new number plate recognition camera system to implement the £2 Congestion Charge.

There has also been a spawning of new stainless steel litter bins. Someone thought they would be trendy, but the reality is that they look cheap and as if the council have spent thousands rather than millions in carrying out their master plan. They look better at night when they are not so noticeable. In daylight the stainless steel is tinged with a brown stain, either from tea, nicotine or mud splats. The tops are blackened with stubbed out fags.

The same day I went to a local beauty spot, which is close to a river and has become a preferred picnic spot for families. Blow me down, there was a Wall's ice cream litter bin, close to the gate. Its fluorescent orange clashed wildly with the soft greens, browns and purples of the countryside colours. 'Feed Me' it proudly announced under the logo, like a quote from an alternative Alice In Wonderland.

But there is hope. When I returned to Durham, one of the stainless steel bins which had been so badly sited that it narrowed the road width substantially, was bent double. It had been hit by either a truck or a bus. Several days later, when I visited again, it had been removed completely, hopefully forever. Then they will be 'has bins'.

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