Do you ever think about rubbish bins? Probably not. Or at least, not many of you do. After all, they’re just an everyday item that we use without a second thought.
Household bins – a bit of history
Can you remember your first household bin?
You might have had a metal can with a lid that you put your rubbish/rubbish bags in. Early in the morning on ‘rubbish day’, or the night before, you put your metal bin at the curb. A little later in the morning the rubbish truck came and the rubbish man (as we call them, affectionately, in Australia) picked it up, hoisted it over his shoulder, walked to the back of the truck, and threw the contents into the truck. And then he returned your bin – and the lid – as accurately as time allowed, to where he picked it up from. Then he went on his way, to empty your neighbour’s bin, and so on down the street.
There were often 2 rubbish men for each truck, or sometimes 3, to do both sides of the road, and one driver.
Then in the late 1980s, at least in Australia, came the wheelie bin. You know the ones. Big green ones with a hinged lid. You put it at the side of the road on rubbish day. Not on the road itself, but exactly 1 metre (or something) back from the curb, and the truck comes along and automatically lifts it up with a big robotic arm and dumps your rubbish into the truck.
No rubbish man required, only one driver. Or sometimes a second man to assist if some rebel resident hasn’t put his bin at the right place for the lifting arm to take the bin. In that case someone has to put the bin straight before it can be emptied.
But there are more than just our household rubbish bins. There are kitchen bins, railway station bins, bins in parks, in the streets, in the office, the locations and types of bins are endless!
If you’ve been a reader of Born in a Car for a while, you’ll know that I take photos of strange things when I travel. A good example of this is my post about public toilets. I’m not a typical holiday photographer as you can see.
So, as you would expect, I have photos of bins. Not only from my various holidays, but also from where I live. So we’re going to take a look at some of my favourite bins.
First let’s look at some of the recycling bins I’ve come across.
Recycling bins could be a whole post on their own! For that reason I’m going to just mention a few of them that I’ve seen that have impressed me – if a recycling bin can impress, that is!
Germany is a country which has embraced recycling probably like no other country in the world! There are recycling bins everywhere!
These bins above are in Munich, and there are not only bins for paper and plastic, there are also bins for glass, as you would expect. But here you’re required to separate your glass into colours – separate bins for green glass, brown glass and white glass! So organised!
The next photo is also from Germany, in Cologne. But this time it’s not a street bin, it’s a bin in an AirBnb apartment we stayed in some years ago. This kitchen bin has different sections – one for general rubbish, and one for metal, plastic and cardboard containers. Then under this bin was another bin for paper.
Such a good idea to have everything sorted before it goes outside to be collected.
The next bin was seen in an office conference room where I was teaching. But it wasn’t in Germany, it was in Russia! It’s always exciting to find recycling bins in Russia because when I first arrived there back in 2007, and for some years after that, there wasn’t a recycling bin to be seen anywhere.
This bin has 3 sections – one for plastic, one for paper, and one for general rubbish. A great idea for our corporate world!
There are now also recycling bins in the streets of Moscow, and in some parks. As I said above, these just didn’t exist a mere 10 years ago.
Before I show you our bins in Bulgaria, I’m going to treat you to some very interesting and sometimes beautiful street bins that I’ve seen in my travels and at home. So let’s begin with Russia.
This one is held together by some scotch tape – but it’s still functional.
Does it matter if it’s not square?
I tend to take a lot of photos of bins with snow on them! This yellow one’s quite interesting, don’t you think?
And using the snow to extinguish your cigarette butts.
Not snow, but ice!
The idea here was a bin that resembled a cannon – do you think they succeeded?
Coloured bins are always fun!
A fire hydrant bin.
This bin is in a small park in Moscow, isn’t it beautiful?
Another beautiful old street bin.
And why not paint it blue?
A very ornate metal street bin.
And this one is attached to the metal street pole – it swings which makes it easy to empty.
This bin was fixed to the footpath, so it was impossible to move it to a more convenient location. Pedestrians have to walk around it.
Here’s a couple of street bins in Berlin, Germany. How cute is this!
And this one below translates to “the brave little bucket” (any Germans please correct me if this isn’t right!).
Bins for households and apartments
When you live in a flat/apartment, or sometimes even a house, your bin is a communal one. These can also come in different shapes and sizes.
Take a look at this one in Beijing, China. Here you take your household rubbish and put it in these bigger street bins to be taken away. There’s no individual rubbish service, it’s for all the street or neighbourhood.
In one of the flats we lived in, there was a chute for rubbish. I remember when I was a little girl in Australia we lived in a flat for a while and we also had one of these.
They’re great because you don’t have to go downstairs in the cold to take out the rubbish, just step outside your front door and open the chute and your rubbish disappears in seconds.
And here’s a more common sight for rubbish removal in Moscow. It’s 2 or 3 large bins, or skips, in a communal area in a little ‘house’ or ‘shed’. this is where you bring your rubbish bags. Then a truck comes along once a day and takes your rubbish away.
This one was full because it was New Year’s Day.
And sometimes you find the most unexpected things in the rubbish!
And the bins are painted every spring!
As you may know, we spent 4 months in Bucharest in 2020. For approximately 3 of those months we stayed in one AirBnb which was an apartment in a residential area. It took us a while to find the bin.
Can you see it?
Yes, it’s through the hole in the white door. The door’s locked, so if you accidentally throw away something you shouldn’t have, bad luck!
And these bins below were in a Russian town, on the outskirts, so it was almost like a village.
Bins in Bulgaria
Finally, I’m going to show you some rubbish bins that I’ve come across in Bulgaria. I haven’t seen much of Bulgaria yet, so there may be other bins around. Here are some that caught my eye.
The very first photo in this post is of bins in the old town on Veliko Tarnovo. VT is where we stayed for the first months in Bulgaria, while we were preparing to buy a house.
It’s true that these household bins look a lot like the ones we had in Australia 40 and more years ago. Here’s some more from the old town in VT.
But the most common bin in Veliko Tarnovo, and I think in Bulgarian villages, are these ones.
They’re communal bins, but not in a parking area or common area, but in the street. Depending on where your house or flat is located, you may have a bit of a walk down the street before you get to the bin.
There’s a little place marked out for the bins, often encroaching onto the footpath. But the bins aren’t always in their ‘correct’ place, as you can see below.
And lastly, I want to tell you how great it is to have a rubbish bin just outside your front gate. It’s really not far for us to take our rubbish out at our new village house. The rubbish bin is just across the road.
What about your rubbish bin situation – do you have a really efficient and close rubbish removal, or do you have to take a long walk to get rid of your waste? Tell me all your rubbish bin stories below!
Shared on Natalie the Explorer blog Coffee Share #3