Recycling. Let’s face it, it’s here to stay. Or, perhaps more accurately, it’s here to stay as long as we’re going to be here to stay. To my mind, basic recycling is one of those things which it feels impossible for a rational person to argue against – if we can reuse items and make new things from old ones, shouldn’t we be doing that and thereby helping preserve the world around us… especially when it’s convenient and incredibly easy? As many communities offer free recycling, it isn’t really all that hard to do.
For me though, one of the things that I repeatedly come up against is the issue of sorting everything. Is it paper? Is it metal? Is it plastic? What kind of paper is it? Really, milk and orange juice cartons can’t be recycled? And, perhaps more importantly, where do I keep all the stuff until it’s recycling day? It can’t go in the garbage and then be sorted later (that’s disgusting). It can’t just sit on your window sill (which, technically I believe is a window stool if it’s inside, but that’s neither here nor there) and clog up the joint. You pretty much now have to buy something in which to store your non-garbage, but those can get pretty disgusting. And, what about during parties? Where do people throw all that stuff for you to sort out later.
It is this last question that has, apparently, been asked by the folks over at TrashCo and, they provided us with what could be an answer – the Flings Bin. The bin is a little pop-up container that is light, completely portable, and in which you can toss your empty bottles and cans (ostensibly paper recycling too, but not at the same time – it would defeat the purpose). On their website, Flings Bins look pretty nice. They come in multiple sizes with amusing patterns or with the traditional green arrow thingy that means recycling. Reality however, as we all know, doesn’t always match up with the ideal.
Where on the website, Flings Bins look nice and crisp on their vertical sides, this is not the reality. They arrive at your house in scrunched up form, once you pop them open they’re awfully wrinkly and, at least in the traditional recycle-y look, none too pretty.
What they are is functional. You can absolutely throw your recyclables in there no matter if said recyclables are paper, metal, or plastic and eventually then move them to whatever you actually leave them at your curb in. You can then, at least for a little while, reuse the Flings Bin before disposing of it and buying another.
I know, I read that too, and that is really the sticking point here – you will eventually have to dispose of them and buy another (how long that takes depends on what you put in it). They may come in cute designs, but that traditional blue hard plastic recycling bin is going to last you far longer than a Flings (when it gets nasty in there you can hose the hard bin out). I am not wise enough to calculate the exact environmental impact of buying one of those hard-sided bins and having it last a long time versus using and recycling the Flings Bins, but I expect that if these take off someone will do the math.
Outside of having to keep on buying new bins, the bit that bothers me is the actual recycling of the Flings Bins. The Bins are constructed of plastic (those are the vertical sides), metal (those are the bits that pop up and down to make the plastic sides stay), and cardboard (to form a ring around the top and a stable base). Thus, it causes me to circle back to my question at the top of the article – is it paper? plastic? metal? It is all three and consequently, depending on where you live, you’ll have to take the bin apart and divide it into either two or three different recycling receptacles to have it taken away.
That isn’t to say that Flings Bins aren’t useful. I think that they definitely are, but not necessarily how the company might position them. If I were going out and having a huge picnic with people and knew that there would be a lot of recyclable material at the end and no place to put it, I very well might take a Flings Bin. I can’t see using them on an every day basis however when I could, just as easily, use a hard-sided, reusable forever, recycling bin – the wrinkles in the sides are off-putting and I’d rather make a single purchase than multiple ones.
That, however, is me. Flings Bins do exactly what they purport to do—provide an alternative method to collecting ones recyclables—and do so in a way where one can, without incredible difficulty, dispose of the receptacle itself when it’s no longer needed (shrinking it back down to its small size though seems an unlikely choice if you’ve put in empty bottles and cans for fear of bits of liquid remaining).
Reasonably priced at under five dollars a bin, Flings Bins are certainly an option for those out there looking for alternative methods for sorting and disposing of their non-garbage material. Perhaps some steam could take out those wrinkles.