News and Comment- 18/08/2016



When it comes to geopolitical conceits and topical sociological issues you’d think that bin news wouldn’t be a particularly rich vein to plumb. Well, my presumptuous reader- (or am I being presumptuous in assuming that anyone is actually reading this?)- you would be wrong. Last month we discussed the septic sensationalism of the Brexit and Bremain campaigns, albeit through the lens of a t’riffic little tale about a traffic warden and a wheelie bin. And now- post-Brexit- in this period of eerie uncertainty, that beleaguered calm after the storm, we turn to bin news once more, for an altogether splendid illustration of the whole damn debacle.

The mirror reports that just three days after the Brexit vote, 22-year-old Matthew White (later described by a judge as ‘well in drink’), used wheelie bins to create his own ‘EU border crossing’ on a UK street, demanding that passers-by brandish their British passports in order to pass through. Funnily enough, the man he eventually head-butted had the most English name imaginable, but the victim- Mr Carrington Hunt- didn’t really go for this sort of nonsense, thank you very much.  The first thing I can take from this story is that I now feel obliged to introduce the phrase ‘well in drink,’ into my everyday lexicon. It makes drunkenness sound like some sort of place that you accidentally stumble to through no fault of your own. ‘Oh, don’t mind Steve, he’s well in drink. Even with fair weather he probably won’t find his way out till Tuesday.’

Mr White crudely constructed his barrier out of ‘wheelie bins, bits of fencing, a push chair, and children’s play equipment.’ Given how last few months has seen many people condense complex ideas into childish mental images of rudimentary blockades- as well as very much throwing their toys out of the proverbial pram- it’s almost as Matthew has intentionally fashioned a spectacular conceptual art piece: ‘I AM BREXIT MANIFEST- WITNESS ME!’

We are all now, of course, living Matthew’s hangover. The cold light of day is giving us a bit of a headache, and as texts messages start to flood in, we have to ask ourselves the question ‘what exactly did we do last night?’

Of course, as a nation it seems we agree that the only sensible next step is to employ the standardised, tried and tested hangover tactic:  turn the phone off, put the kettle on, and hope it all goes away…


News and Comment- 18/08/2016

News and comment 29/06/2016

Mac Cartoon


It has been a turbulent, vitriolic few months. It’s fair to say that the tactics employed by both the Brexit and the Bremain campaigns have been pretty Breprehensible. As we have seen so many times, when trying to rally support for a political cause, you need to locate and exploit a common enemy. For the Outees, it was immigrants and academics (heaven forbid if you’re an immigrant academic), and for the Inees it was Nigel Farage. You have to feel for all the reasonable and logic-driven advocates for leaving the EU. It can’t be nice having a guy who thinks he’s Admiral Nelson- but actually resembles a beerier, more bellicose Alan Partridge- speaking for you on the telly every day.

The surrealist picture painted by the EU referendum is ultimately one of disunity. It sadly seems we are a country divided. Perhaps we’ve lost sight of the true common enemy-an enemy we can all agree upon. The enemy who could unite a nation, the academics, labourers, Partridges alike.  I am talking, of course, about that object of our universal scorn: the nefarious traffic warden.

This week comes the news that a traffic warden has been caught out hiding behind wheelie bins, ‘in an apparent bid to catch out unsuspecting motorists.’ The Sun has published images showing the villain sneaking behind some 1100’s, before leaping out of the shadows and issuing a ticket, forked tail whipping viciously behind him.

Ahh, the hatred is so pure. Even the Sun didn’t report him as being an immigrant traffic warden, or a traffic warden who is on benefits. This simple tincture of classic, harmless hatred truly is a tonic in these times of wild-eyed hysteria. Our hero in this folk-tale- Mr Clark of Canterbury Plumbing supplies- had presumably heard cries of ‘He’s behind you!’ before storming over: ‘I went up to him shouting ‘Oi what do you think you’re doing.’

That’s it Mr Clark, let him have it.





News and comment 29/06/2016

News and comment 25/05/2016

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?


This week the world gratefully gorged upon yet another gratuitous super-hero smorgasbord, courtesy of X-Men Apocalypse. Don’t let the title fool you- an actual apocalypse would mean foregoing the endless cycle of sequels and reboots that we lap up oh-so greedily. Having worked in the waste industry for a while, it’s nice to see that Hollywood know a thing or two about recycling. ‘Believe us, this time the men are even X’ier!’

Yet from the North of England comes a tale of a true hero. There are whispers on the streets of Sunderland. They speak of a man. A man unfazed by trivialities such as sub-zero temperatures and infernal football rivalries. A man cloaked in a cape of green moulded plastic. They call him Wheelie bin man.

Despite having a name that sounds like an alias a drunk football hooligan conjures when trying to convince a Parisian policeman that he’s actually a local, 47-year-old Deano Franciosy is an admirable chap. The Wheelie-bin Man moniker was granted to him by geordies who spotted him train for a 15 mile run from St James’ park to the Stadium of Light with a 240l wheelie bin strapped to his back. Deano isn’t striving to fight crime-or grime for that matter. His endeavour is all to raise funds for the ICCU at Sunderland Royal Hospital, which cared for his mother in her final days.

Deano does something every year in his mum’s memory, just to raise funds for the unit, who he describes as ‘absolutely unbelievable.’ We don’t know about you, but that’s a kind of heroism we can get behind. Marvel should be taking notes. They’re bound to run out of ideas before long, so before Aubergine Man is finally unleashed upon the world, maybe Deano could get a silver-screen debut, replete with his own spin low-budget tv series: “WBM Origins- taking out the trash”


News and comment 25/05/2016

News and comment 5/04/2016-Catastrophe



It may shock you to hear, but writing this blog can occasionally be a bit of a struggle. It seems that despite being such infinitely fascinating subjects, people don’t tend to write many compelling news stories about wheelie bins. It’s an appalling and surprising state of affairs, as I’m sure you’ll agree. But, ah…who could forget the summer of 2010? The summer where we reached the summit of wheelie bin related news: the blisteringly dramatic standard to which all subsequent stories must sullenly compare themselves. The summer where 45-year-old Mary Bale became a national hate figure, after CCTV footage of her dumping a cat in a wheelie bin for no apparent reason went viral.

The mystery! The drama! The vitriolic fury! It really had it all. All bin news is just a footnote to Mary’s moment of deliciously irrational malice. This week the Daily Mail recalls the Watergate of the waste world, further underlining the troubled relationship cats have with wheelie bins. It reports that poor pet owners- Sophie Worster and Sarah Young- were forced to trawl through wheelie bins after the corpse of their beloved cat, Zelda, was thoughtlessly dumped in one by Colchester council.

Zelda was already a late cat when encountered by the council gardeners, so their actions can be chalked up as thoughtless rather than outright malicious. Still, you can’t read the description of a ‘cat squashed at the bottom of the bin’ without also hearing the sound of pitchforks being sharpened across the UK. A spokesman for Colchester Council apologised for the ‘deeply regrettable’ incident, before changing his name and moving his entire family to Argentina.

Onto more positive news, last week a Glasgow wheelie bin played the hero, averting catastrophe by breaking a man’s life threatening fall. A source told the evening times ‘to survive a fall like this is nothing short of a miracle.’ An unverified source quoted the bin as saying, in an unaccountably American accent ‘well, shucks, ma’am, it’s all in a day’s work.


News and comment 5/04/2016-Catastrophe

News and Comment 4/03/2016

Mavericks and their wheelie bins.


Everyone appreciates the way that the noble wheelie bin fights the good fight: stiffening its upper lid through the seasons and bravely performing its unglamorous duties. Yet there are mavericks in this world who look at a wheelie bin and see something greater. There are those who look at a wheelie bin guzzle waste, and all they see is wasted potential. Why merely be a bin, when you can be a menacing, animatronic terroriser of towns?  Why merely be a bin, when you can be an artistic masterpiece? Why indeed…

Last week Youtuber and inventor Colin Furze made national news after he unleashed his remote control wheelie bin onto the unsuspecting town of Stamford, Lincolnshire.  After fitting a green 260 with an engine, Colin decided to personify his creation by crudely attaching two eyes and a mouth; fittingly granting it an uncanny resemblance to Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Terminator movies. The bin had a merry old day buzzing around town, evading waste collectors and scaring old ladies, before presumably bellowing ‘GET TO THE TIPPER!’ and roaring off into the sunset in a hail of milk cartons and banana peels.

Another maverick, another online hit: wheelie bin artist ‘Binsy,’-real name Brett Day- has gone viral after demonstrating his collection of spray paint art on wheelie bins. Brett has now quit his old job for good, hoping to make a full time living out of his rather impressive bin art, probably hoping that one-day people start calling him Leonardo da Binci, or at the very least stop calling him ‘Binsy.’

Inspiration hit Brett when he was putting his bins out ‘and realised that they looked horrible,’ and he though ‘why not try and make them a bit more pretty?’ We appreciate Brett’s eloquent mission statement, not to mention his undoubted talent, but hope these makeovers don’t lead to unrealistic image standards for bins. Remember, wheelie bins, no matter what your size, you’re gorgeous just the way you are.

News and Comment 4/03/2016

How far is Saint Helena?

BritishBins remains the only company to ship bins to Saint Helena; an island so
remote even Napoleon couldn’t escape it.


“How far is Saint Helena?” asked Rudyard Kipling repeatedly and rhetorically in his famous lullaby; the point being, no matter where you are in the world, the answer is always ‘a long way away.’  To get an idea quite how isolated this infamous volcanic outpost is, search ‘Saint Helena’ on google maps and zoom out. Keep going…and going. The island is now just a tiny pinprick, yet remarkably it remains the only thing you can see, other than the yawning expanse of the South Atlantic Ocean. To paraphrase Jim Morrison, that’s pretty far out, man.

And yet, despite being one of the planet’s remotest hunks of rock, St. Helena has played an intriguingly important role within European history. The island was discovered uninhabited by the Portuguese in 1502, who were taken by its abundance of trees and fresh water. Lonesome yet lush, both beautiful and barbarous, Saint Helena soon became the glamorous destination of choice for audacious explorers such as Sir Francis Drake and Captain James Cook.

The island was predictably squabbled over by the English and the Dutch for the next few hundred years, before playing a central role in the demise of one of history’s most formidable military commanders: Napoleon Bonaparte.

Napoleon had already boldly demonstrated that he wasn’t the kind of person to let a little thing like exile stop him. The Russians and Prussians had already shipped him off to Elba, a reasonably remote Mediterranean island. In the first few months on Elba he had created a small navy and army; within a year he was escaping the island on a brig with 700 men by his side.

The British realised that a rethink was in order. They decided that Elba wasn’t quite remote enough. Having granted Napoleon ‘asylum’ from the Prussians-who now wanted him dead or alive- they placed him in Longwood house, a damp, dilapidated residence near the coast of Saint Helena.

Rumours of hatched plots and daring escape plans were plentiful, but ultimately the British had weaponised the island. Napoleon spent the rest of his days dictating his memoirs and grumbling about his damp, windswept living conditions. Napoleon’s time on Saint Helena has captured the imagination of artists and poets for centuries, enraptured by the image of the persecuted genius-so central to European affairs for so long- slowly perishing, watched only by the vast and indifferent sea. Napoleon died on Saint Helena, enfeebled and defeated, in May 1821.

Today Saint Helena is still remarkably difficult to get to. The British Overseas Territory has been accessible only by the Royal Mail Ship St Helena, which offers journeys of between five days and nearly two months on its voyages. It took until September 2015 for a plane to land there for the very first time, though a fully-fledged airport is on the horizon. We don’t let that stop us though. We frequently ship to the island, making sure that living conditions for its 5000 residents are a bit better than those suffered by Napoleon.

How far is Saint Helena? Not too far for us!

How far is Saint Helena?

Introducing the Ballot Bin Ashtray


A modern art sculpture commenting upon the throwaway nature of our vote in an increasingly homogenised parliamentary system? Not quite; the new ‘Ballot Bin ashtray’ just aims to keep our streets clean.

The voting system encourages use of the innovative new ashtray, allowing the user to choose one of two slots in which to dispose their cigarette butt, the results of which are shown in two transparent windows. The questions can be changed to reflect topical events and issues relevant to the area in which the ashtray is placed.

The concept went viral after an image of its trial run on Villiers street -Who’s the best footballer in the world? (Messi or Ronaldo) – was shared on reddit. The trial was a resounding success, though presumably the avalanche of butts on the floor at the entrance of Embankment station suggest that the majority of Londoners actually think that Neymar is the best footballer in the world.

Still though, this is a smart initiative from Hubbub, a new charity that utilises ‘hub’ of activity to spark peoples interest in sustainability issues. Other ‘hubs’ include talking rubbish bins, chewing gum artwork and chalking around littered items.



Introducing the Ballot Bin Ashtray