Missing the Bin

If the environmentalists have their way, there will soon be no more waste paper bins. No more crumpling that unsatisfactory draft into a ball and hurling it across the room, and hearing that satisfying clunk as it lands in the bin.

There’ll be no more joyous moments from getting a perfect shot, right in the middle, or one that rattles around the edge before finally dropping in. Nor will there be any more angry misses—immediately followed by the humiliation of having to stand up, pick up your scrunched ball of paper, and drop it into the bin.

No doubt we’ll still see it in film and television: it’s a dramatic device that works so well in so many scenarios that I doubt it will lose its place in the visual language. It will, however, be relegated from our offices, and soon enough from our homes as well. Not that I deplore the intention, of course; despite my bitterness, I’m one of the environmentalists. But it’s hard nonetheless.

My bin is one of those classic metal ones, painted grey and somewhat dented by the occasional frustrated kick when it had received too many crap pieces of writing in too short a time. These days it’s lined with a plastic bag and takes apple cores and plastic wrapping, but not paper; that either goes into the recycling, or the shredder (shredding stuff is a satisfying experience in its own right, but not the one I’m here to talk about). Conscience has triumphed over aesthetics.

Ok, you could crumple up your paper and chuck it into a waste paper bin… but then you’d have to flatten it out again and put it into the recycling, so what’s the point? And scrunched-up paper doesn’t go into the shredder terribly easily either. No doubt if we’re to salvage this battered planet of ours we’ll have to make greater sacrifices than this one, but sometimes the things that hit close to home aren’t the ones you expect.

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I think the obvious solution is for someone to invent a shredder that can easily destroy scrunched up bits of paper.

You could attach a net and a backboard to it for good measure.


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