Tuesday, 11 November 2008

"The answer to all your waste disposal dilemmas"

I am as enviromentally-minded as the next person, assuming the next person has their own business dedicated to environmental and sustainability consultancy.

I recycle avidly, and encourage others to do so. I shop locally. I decline plastic bags.

I mention all of this not as an invitation to applaud my eco-credentials, but as a prelude to this statement:

I find it impossible to get excited about a bit of bent plastic designed to hold carrier bags.

Ben the Bin is billed as the answer to all my waste disposal dilemmas, which irritates me straight from the get-go as I don't have any waste disposal dilemmas, I really don't. Does anyone? Surely waste disposal is as easy as putting stuff in the bin. Or bins. Or carry-to-kerb waste-separation-and-pre-recycling-storage solutions. It's so easy a child could do it, as my friend's 2-year old daughter has demonstrated.

But Ben offers so much more. The design boasts handles for increased portability. Which I think means it's quite easy to carry. And it's "easily stackable" when not in use. Brilliant. Why is this not a consideration for other bins? Oh yes, because they're used all the time. They sit in the corner, quietly minding their own business, something we're all quite familiar and comfortable with, I suspect.

Ben is singularly ugly, too, which is particularly offensive as the marketing gushes that "Ben" makes waste separation "glamorous!". I may not be a style guru, but my definition of glamorous does not include a crumpled carrier bag swinging from a scrap of plastic.

"You never need to hang a carrier bag on a door knob ever again." No, you get to stare at it all day long, dangling from the piece of plastic you just spent money on.

Seriously, if this makes it easier for you to recycle then I applaud it. Buy one. Buy two! And recycle away.

But let's be clear about this: Ben is a large piece of plastic (albeit recycled) that serves the same purpose as a hook, or a door knob. Actually less of a purpose; at least a door knob has an additional, primary function.

And let's not even get started on the whole anthropomorphication (or is that anthropomorphization?) of a scrap of plastic.

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