Has anybody noticed that those boxy new utilitarian trash cans on city streets don’t seem to be holding together all that well?
It enough to make a skeptic wonder if it’s impossible to build a receptacle that is capable of handling the wear and tear of daily use without falling apart.
By now, it’s apparent that the previous models – the curvy bins made out of heavy-gauge plastic, with pedal-operated flaps over the openings – are a disaster. If they get much use, the pedal breaks, the flaps stop working and they fall apart.
Astral Out of Home, which has a contract with the city to provide street furniture, including trash cans, in exchange for the right to sell advertising on transit shelters, bit the bullet a few years ago and began replacing them with smaller ones that have no flaps or pedals.
They’re supposed to be less likely to break and more likely to hold up over the long haul.
There is some irony to that decision. In the late 1990s, the city had a contract with OMG Media, a curious outfit from Montreal, to provide trash bins in exchange for advertising rights. They were rectangular, made of shiny metal and tough as nails.
The problem was that OMG always found a way to avoid paying the city its end of the advertising revenue, which was casually tolerated. It raised a lot of eyebrows and allowed Astral’s predecessor to offer a more lucrative deal.
So to see Astral revert to bins that have more in common with the old OMG ones is amusing to anyone who remembers that OMG was once allowed to dodge about $250,000 in remittances to the city over alleged damage to its containers by sidewalk snow plows.
But now that the newer Astral models have been in service for at least two years, it’s become apparent to us that they aren’t particularly sturdy, either.
We’ve recently spotted a few with side panels hanging at odd angles, just like the older curvy bins, suggesting a defect in design that prevents them from holding together.
Okay, maybe they were vandalized, but shouldn’t the panels be tight enough to withstand tinkering by monkeys?
STATUS: We sent a note to the city’s street furniture division on Feb. 10, asking for its opinion on the sturdiness of the current bins. So far, no reply.
If you’ve noticed new bins that are falling apart, let us know where and we’ll check it out.
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