Some decades ago – certainly in my youth – probably the most common type of litter bin to be found in parks was this design by Lister of Dursley, Gloucestershire. These bins consisted of wooden slats arranged conically, with a metal bin painted red or green inside, and were to my mind a classic of industrial design because they mingled the industrial with the bucolic in perfect proportions. (The rarer green-painted bin tilted the look towards the bucolic.) They were thus able to take their place neatly in the urban park scene, contributing to its aesthetics even while fulfilling their necessary but unlovely function.
It is a pity, therefore, that the design is no longer used. Today most litter bins seem to be made entirely of fibreglass, which does not lend itself to the bucolic, even the urban-park bucolic. Amid the greenery of a park it is conspicuous for the wrong reason. It is also all too easily set on fire; and there can be few things uglier than burnt-out fibreglass.
So let us keep alive the memory of the Lister bins. Let us remember what is possible in the design of everyday things. The bins are hard to find now, but if they are history let it be recorded history.