It's big, and it's ugly and it's bomb-proof. Oh yes, and it is a garbage can recycling newspapers. Five years in the making, the Renew bin has hit the streets of the financial district of London.
These mothers of all bins have been tested in the New Mexico desert to withstand bomb blasts. They cost £30,000 (US$ 47,000) each and there are 25 so far.
Aside from recycling newspapers, they also have 2 LCD screens, one on each side, which flash the news, weather, stock market updates, and London subway information and they provide Wifi. In the event of a major emergency or transit upset, information on escape routes will be shown. With the Olympics coming up soon, traffic information will also be posted.
The screens are green: the brightness technology apparently reduces the power usage by 40%. In addition, the company is donating 1% of profits to the World Wildlife Federation.
With memories still strong of the IRA bombings in the '80's and '90's and more recent fears of terrorist attacks, The City of London removed its cast iron litter bins from the street several years ago for security reasons. There are currently no recycling receptacles on The City streets.
The bins cost £30,000 to manufacture and install and will cost another £500,000 in maintenance fees over a 21-year period. However, the developers are hoping to find sponsors, with the Olympics coming up and another 50 of them on stream to litter, oops, grace the streets.
Local governments like them because it’s a private public infrastructure investment that’s not going to cost them anything. But surely they could have come up with a more urban and sophisticated design.
Other cities are supposedly looking into them: watch out New York and Tokyo