Rubbish Bins

Do you ever think about rubbish bins?  Probably not.  Or at least, not many of you do.  After all, they’re just an everyday item that we use without a second thought.

Household bins – a bit of history

Can you remember your first household bin? 

metal bins
Did your bins look like these ones?

You might have had a metal can with a lid that you put your rubbish/rubbish bags in.  Early in the morning on ‘rubbish day’, or the night before, you put your metal bin at the curb.  A little later in the morning the rubbish truck came and the rubbish man (as we call them, affectionately, in Australia) picked it up, hoisted it over his shoulder, walked to the back of the truck, and threw the contents into the truck.  And then he returned your bin – and the lid – as accurately as time allowed, to where he picked it up from. Then he went on his way, to empty your neighbour’s bin, and so on down the street. 

There were often 2 rubbish men for each truck, or sometimes 3, to do both sides of the road, and one driver.

wheelie bins
Wheelie bins

Then in the late 1980s, at least in Australia, came the wheelie bin.  You know the ones. Big green ones with a hinged lid.  You put it at the side of the road on rubbish day.  Not on the road itself, but exactly 1 metre (or something) back from the curb, and the truck comes along and automatically lifts it up with a big robotic arm and dumps your rubbish into the truck. 

No rubbish man required, only one driver.  Or sometimes a second man to assist if some rebel resident hasn’t put his bin at the right place for the lifting arm to take the bin.  In that case someone has to put the bin straight before it can be emptied.

But there are more than just our household rubbish bins.  There are kitchen bins, railway station bins, bins in parks, in the streets, in the office, the locations and types of bins are endless!

If you’ve been a reader of Born in a Car for a while, you’ll know that I take photos of strange things when I travel.  A good example of this is my post about public toilets.  I’m not a typical holiday photographer as you can see.

So, as you would expect, I have photos of bins.  Not only from my various holidays, but also from where I live.  So we’re going to take a look at some of my favourite bins.

First let’s look at some of the recycling bins I’ve come across. 

Recycling bins

Recycling bins could be a whole post on their own! For that reason I’m going to just mention a few of them that I’ve seen that have impressed me – if a recycling bin can impress, that is!

Germany is a country which has embraced recycling probably like no other country in the world! There are recycling bins everywhere!

These bins above are in Munich, and there are not only bins for paper and plastic, there are also bins for glass, as you would expect. But here you’re required to separate your glass into colours – separate bins for green glass, brown glass and white glass! So organised!

The next photo is also from Germany, in Cologne. But this time it’s not a street bin, it’s a bin in an AirBnb apartment we stayed in some years ago. This kitchen bin has different sections – one for general rubbish, and one for metal, plastic and cardboard containers. Then under this bin was another bin for paper.

kitchen recycling bins
Household recycling bins

Such a good idea to have everything sorted before it goes outside to be collected.

The next bin was seen in an office conference room where I was teaching. But it wasn’t in Germany, it was in Russia! It’s always exciting to find recycling bins in Russia because when I first arrived there back in 2007, and for some years after that, there wasn’t a recycling bin to be seen anywhere.

This bin has 3 sections – one for plastic, one for paper, and one for general rubbish. A great idea for our corporate world!

There are now also recycling bins in the streets of Moscow, and in some parks. As I said above, these just didn’t exist a mere 10 years ago.

recycling bins moscow
These gorgeous bins are for plastic and glass
coloured recycling bins
And these ones on a train platform in Moscow
nizhny novgorod recycling bins
These were the first recycling bins I ever saw in Russia. They’re in the railway station in the town of Nizhny Novgorod

Street bins

Before I show you our bins in Bulgaria, I’m going to treat you to some very interesting and sometimes beautiful street bins that I’ve seen in my travels and at home. So let’s begin with Russia.

This one is held together by some scotch tape – but it’s still functional.

street bin 1

Does it matter if it’s not square?

street bin 2

I tend to take a lot of photos of bins with snow on them! This yellow one’s quite interesting, don’t you think?

street bin 3

And using the snow to extinguish your cigarette butts.

street bin 4

Not snow, but ice!

street bin 5

The idea here was a bin that resembled a cannon – do you think they succeeded?

street bin 6

Coloured bins are always fun!

street bin 7

A fire hydrant bin.

street bin 8

This bin is in a small park in Moscow, isn’t it beautiful?

street bin 9

Another beautiful old street bin.

street bin 10

And why not paint it blue?

street bin 11

Or green?

street bin 12

A very ornate metal street bin.

street bin 13

And this one is attached to the metal street pole – it swings which makes it easy to empty.

street bin 14

This bin was fixed to the footpath, so it was impossible to move it to a more convenient location. Pedestrians have to walk around it.

street bin 15

Here’s a couple of street bins in Berlin, Germany. How cute is this!

butler bin
A butler bin!

And this one below translates to “the brave little bucket” (any Germans please correct me if this isn’t right!).

berlin bin

Bins for households and apartments

When you live in a flat/apartment, or sometimes even a house, your bin is a communal one. These can also come in different shapes and sizes.

Take a look at this one in Beijing, China. Here you take your household rubbish and put it in these bigger street bins to be taken away. There’s no individual rubbish service, it’s for all the street or neighbourhood.

beijing bin
A Beijing bin for household rubbish

In one of the flats we lived in, there was a chute for rubbish. I remember when I was a little girl in Australia we lived in a flat for a while and we also had one of these.

They’re great because you don’t have to go downstairs in the cold to take out the rubbish, just step outside your front door and open the chute and your rubbish disappears in seconds.

rubbish chute
The rubbish chute

And here’s a more common sight for rubbish removal in Moscow. It’s 2 or 3 large bins, or skips, in a communal area in a little ‘house’ or ‘shed’. this is where you bring your rubbish bags. Then a truck comes along once a day and takes your rubbish away.

This one was full because it was New Year’s Day.

overflowing rubbish
An overflowing communal bin in Moscow

And sometimes you find the most unexpected things in the rubbish!

rubbish president
The ex-Russian Federation president, Medvedev, in the bin

And the bins are painted every spring!

painting the bins

As you may know, we spent 4 months in Bucharest in 2020. For approximately 3 of those months we stayed in one AirBnb which was an apartment in a residential area. It took us a while to find the bin.

Can you see it?

bucharest bin
Our Bucharest bin

Yes, it’s through the hole in the white door. The door’s locked, so if you accidentally throw away something you shouldn’t have, bad luck!

And these bins below were in a Russian town, on the outskirts, so it was almost like a village.

russian bins

Bins in Bulgaria

Finally, I’m going to show you some rubbish bins that I’ve come across in Bulgaria. I haven’t seen much of Bulgaria yet, so there may be other bins around. Here are some that caught my eye.

The very first photo in this post is of bins in the old town on Veliko Tarnovo. VT is where we stayed for the first months in Bulgaria, while we were preparing to buy a house.

It’s true that these household bins look a lot like the ones we had in Australia 40 and more years ago. Here’s some more from the old town in VT.

metal rubbish bins vt
The old metal bins
coloured bins vt
Some of them have been painted – so nice to see them in the street

But the most common bin in Veliko Tarnovo, and I think in Bulgarian villages, are these ones.

street bin vt

They’re communal bins, but not in a parking area or common area, but in the street. Depending on where your house or flat is located, you may have a bit of a walk down the street before you get to the bin.

There’s a little place marked out for the bins, often encroaching onto the footpath. But the bins aren’t always in their ‘correct’ place, as you can see below.

misplaced bin
Someone hasn’t put the bin back in its place
two bins
These two bins are back in their correct place

And lastly, I want to tell you how great it is to have a rubbish bin just outside your front gate. It’s really not far for us to take our rubbish out at our new village house. The rubbish bin is just across the road.

dobri dyal rubbish bin
Our Lada and the white wall of our house, and the rubbish bin just across the road

What about your rubbish bin situation – do you have a really efficient and close rubbish removal, or do you have to take a long walk to get rid of your waste? Tell me all your rubbish bin stories below!

~ Cheryl

Shared on Natalie the Explorer blog Coffee Share #3

Author: Cheryl

I'm an Australian woman who is now living in a village in rural Bulgaria. I lived for 12 years in Moscow, Russian Federation, working as an English language teacher. My current loves are my husband and my vegetable garden.

32 thoughts on “Rubbish Bins”

  1. Hi Cheryl, I enjoyed this post and all your pictures. I won’t go out back and take pictures, its too cold and dark, but when we bought our house 3 years ago we inherited some of those old metal trash cans with the lids that don’t fit very well. We use one for a 2nd can on the weeks we need one, our other trash can is a large heavy duty plastic one, maybe Rubbermaid. We keep one of the metal trash cans in the garage for the extra dog food and that lid works pretty well. We get a large bag of dog food and refill the inside container as needed. I think another one, perhpas smaller has birdseed. Here is another garbage man/rubbish man story you might like. You have read enough of my stories to probably know that I often blame my mother for my sense of humor. She played at writing a little bit, I wish she had done more. But sometime in the 1930’s she wrote a short skit for her friends that she titled “Gee, How She Loved a G-Man!” The G-Man in question was a garbage ,man, but back in her day, that is what they called Government Men (FBI maybe?) Best and blessings, Michele

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    1. Hi Michele, you’re right, trash cans are really useful as pet food containers. We’ve just bought a lot of 5kg bags of cat food, and will probably buy a trash can to keep them in once they’re opened. What a funny woman your mother was! If you have the skit in full I’d love to read it (if you’re ok to share it with me). I write this blog for many reasons, but one of them is so that my beautiful daughter has something to remember me by when I’m gone. Blessing to you. Cheryl

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  2. Cheryl, I enjoy viewing your photos of rubbish bins in different countries. It’s convenient that you don’t have to go far to dispose your rubbish. Where I live, we have green bin for organics, blue bin for recyclable items, and black bin for trash/ garbage. Thank you for linking up with #weekendcoffeeshare. If you could mention the link up name somewhere in your post and link back, that would be greatly appreciated.

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    1. Hi Natalie, yes, it’s great to have the rubbish bin directly across the road! It’s kind of funny seeing people walking down the street with their rubbish in their hands! It’s great to have different coloured bins for different purposes – as long as they all stay separate after collection! I know that in some countries they collect them all separately then put them all in a bit rubbish mountain – no recycling is done at all. 😦 I’ll get the link thing done. Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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  3. Who would ever have thought there would have been so many different bins! We have a good efficient rubbish removal service. However our driveway is 300 meters long so it’s a long walk with the bins #weekendcoffeeshare

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    1. Hi Jennifer, you do have a long walk to the bin! An efficient rubbish removal service is vital in residential areas. I don’t know how often our village street bin is emptied but people here don’t seem to have a lot of household rubbish. Paper is used for the fire or compost, and food scraps go to the farm animals or compost. And people in villages don’t usually buy a lot of processed food so there’s not a lot of plastic wrapper waste here. Thank you for reading and commenting on my rubbish post!

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  4. The disposal mechanism of trash in Singapore is quite similar to what you had in one of your flats. And that is the usage of Chute. Each floor has a dedicated chute where people can throw their trash, which accumulates in an enclosed location. Later a garbage vehicle comes and collects them.

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    1. Hi Moumita, I love the rubbish chutes, they’re so practical when living in flats. The only problem is that sometimes the chute gets blocked because someone puts something too big, then you have to take it downstairs yourself. Thank you for reading my blog and commenting. All the best for the coming week ahead!

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  5. What a great way to share knowledge of bins and rubbish around the world Cheryl, so interesting and informative!! We live out of town so have to take our rubbish to the local transfer station for disposal and only pay for non-recyclable rubbish. Visiting from Natalie’s weekend coffee share.

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    1. Hi Debbie, I’m so glad you enjoyed my rubbish post! I’m actually never sure if people will be interested in reading things I write, but I love sharing my photos and my observations so I just do it and hope that there’s someone out there who will appreciate me! I remember the old days in Australia when we used to take extra rubbish to the ‘tip’ – it was completely open, no paying, and you could also take anything home that you wanted! The good old days!

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  6. Interesting, we only have recycling bins; metal, plastic, burnable, paper, coloured glass and uncoloured glass. Batteries and electronics you have to take to special places, but all the others are close to our house.

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    1. Hi Maria, I completely forgot about bins for batteries and electronics! I don’t see them often here in Bulgaria, and don’t really remember seeing them much in Moscow either. I wonder what other recyclable items have special bins in different parts of the world. Thanks for visiting Born in a Car, wishing you a lovely week ahead!

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  7. Hi Cheryl. Your creative and humorous posts never seize to amaze me! I really loved the photos of the old bins in the parks in Moscow. How beautiful and ornate they are! The one looked like the type of urn that i’ve always wanted for plants at my front door. These have a unique, old world style. There are plenty of small bins along the main street, here in Chiatura, but sadly this is where the stray dogs have to find their food, and trash gets strewn along the sidewalk. The city workers can be seen every morning sweeping up the garbage on the streets. We have dumpsters at the bottom of the drive, near our apartment, here in town, but there aren’t any on the hill, at the new apartment.I’d like to start a movement on our hill, to clean up the area. People think nothing of just tossing their garbage outside. Maybe I’ll talk to the city officials about it. I enjoyed your post. I’ll talk to you soon. xx

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    1. Hi Christina! Thank you for your kind words. I must admit, I’m not very funny in real life, but I do seem to find the most unusual things to write about in my blog! I’m so pleased that you enjoyed this post. There’s so much in Moscow that’s beautiful and ornate, not just the rubbish bins. We also have a lot of rubbish on the ground here, it’s a shame that people don’t take more care when they throw things away. I’d also like to clean up the streets here a bit, but I’m not sure how the locals would react. Little by little we’ll change things! Enjoy the rest of your week. xx

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  8. I loved this post of the bins. Every country is so different. Here in Albury NSW where we have moved to we have 3 bins, green lid for grass cuttings etc, yellow for recycling and red for everything else. Now here the green bin is emptied every week while the other two one – one week and then the other the following week. Took us a bit to learn this lol as down in Victoria the red bin is emptied every week and the green every second week. Here in Albury the green bin is not just for garden stuff its also for leftover food, coffee grains, tea bags, tissues, paper towels, veggie scraps (ours go to our worm farms) chop and chicken bones. Hence why its emptied every week. We also have a small bin on the bench top’s free from the council where we put in proper bin liners that do break down so all scraps bones etc can go in. We have recycling places at our shopping centers where you can put your bottles and cans in for 10 cents back for each one. (unfortunately they dont take wine bottles haha. Also cardboard etc goes into the big yellow bins. No payment for these. The 10c per can once finished you get a receipt and take it to the Coles Supermarket where they either take it off your food bill or give you the cash. #SeniSal

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    1. Hi Bree, it’s always difficult when moving into a new place to know the ‘bin regime’ – especially in Australia I found. It seems that rubbish and recycling is very organised in Australia these days. Yes, we too could earn a small fortune with our empty wine bottles! I love the system of getting money back from the supermarket for your recycling efforts. I’m pretty sure that this happens in Germany too, because we saw people handing a receipt to the cashier in the supermarket and getting money back. I didn’t understand what that was about until I read your comment today, so thank you for that! Hope all’s well down there in Australia and that your summer isn’t too scorching for you this year!

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  9. I love the photos of the “rubbish bins”. Definitely something most people do not document, but very interesting. Here in the US, we still have trash men. There is no robotic arm on the trash truck. There are either 2 or 3 trash men who empty the trash into the truck. We do have recycling, which is separated from the rest of the trash, and we can’t put things like batteries, light bulbs, or furniture out with the rest of the trash. Interesting how it is different in different countries!

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    1. Hi Laurie! Thank you for stopping by Born in a Car. You’d be surprised at some of the things I take photos of – not only bins and public toilets! I’m actually enjoying reading everyone’s descriptions of how the rubbish systems work where they live in the world. I think recycling bins are a wonderful thing, but only if the recyclable rubbish is actually recycled! I have great admiration for the rubbish men, it’s not a pleasant or easy job. Enjoy the rest of your week!

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  10. Well that was a whole lot of rubbish there!
    See what I did. Sorry, Aussie, had to make some fun.
    What I remember as a kid of the 50s and 60s is one metal garbage bin with a lid. Left on the street for the garbage men or garbos to run ahead of the truck, grab your bin, lid off, rubbish tipped into the back and bin left back on verge. We also could use incinerators in our backyards to burn papers and other household items.

    Oh and if you had too much or extra rubbish your parents drove it in the boot of the car to the council tip which stank to high heaven.

    One more thing, at Christmas, you left bottles of beer inside the top of garbage bin for the men on the truck.

    Then, over time, we have seen the development of wheelie bins and now, we have 3. Small for household rubbish with red lid, middle/large sizes: two: one with green lid for green waste, the other with yellow lid for recycled items. Red bin emptied every week. Others alternate weeks.

    Good to see you here for the first time in a long time!!

    Thank you for linking up this week for #lifethisweek. Great to see you and your blog here! Next week it’s about #sharingoursnaps and that’s an optional prompt. Join in each week for a friendly connection in a great community on-line. I am very grateful to you all. Denyse.

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    1. Hi Denyse, thanks for your detailed comment! I really didn’t realise that there’s so much to say about rubbish! I remember going to the tip as a kid, sometimes sitting on the trailer! We also had an incinerator in the backyard, what a great smell that spread across the neighbourhood. I can’t believe you’ve made me nostalgic for my childhood rubbish! I kind of miss the old days, life was so much simpler. I’m hoping to get back into blogging a lot more than I was in 2020, and I do hope to participate in your link parties each time. Thank you for stopping by, take care, and have a great week!

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  11. WOW! You really covered all sorts of bins for sure! Here in the US we call them garbage or trash cans. At our house we have the big one on wheels that the trunk grabs and dumps. This post made me think of what we call dumpster divers. Have you heard of people who go dumpster diving? Not everything they get is old and used, some is brand new that stores discard. Thanks so much for linking up with me at the #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 21, open until February 26. Shared on social media.

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    1. Hi Dee, I thought about calling my post trash cans, but decided to stick with the Australian version (even though I no longer live there and don’t have any sentimentality for Australian English!). Yes, I’ve heard of dumpster divers, and to be honest I’d love to have the courage to try it! I’m not sure I’d be very successful in my small Bulgarian village, but I can imagine the endless possibilities in a big city. We, as humans, discard so much we really should be ashamed of ourselves. We consume way too much too, time for us all to think about what happens to all those things we put in our trash cans! Thank you for stopping by, it’s always lovely to see you here.

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  12. This was so strangely fascinating! I had never thought about how different rubbish bins are across the world! Here in Sydney, apartment blocks and houses have wheelie bins. For apartment blocks, the bins are in a communal area and we have to go down there and get rid of the rubbish. We do have different coloured lids to separate rubbish, recycling and greens and some areas now also have compost bins I think. On the streets too, we have separate rubbish and recycling bins but they’re not the wheelie bins. I loved this foray into bins across the world!

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    1. Hi Sanch, I’m pretty sure most people are like you and have never thought about rubbish bins! For some reason when I’m out with my camera I see so many wonderful things I can’t help taking photos of them! I’ve even got a series of photos of fire extinguishers in the Moscow metro somewhere (not on the blog, yet!)! Wheelie bins are pretty standard in Australia these days, I wonder if there are any places that don’t have them. Thanks for reading and commenting on my rubbish bin post, so glad you enjoyed it!

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  13. What a fun post! It reminded me of this group I was in, back when I was still on Facebook. I think it was called “isolation bin outing,” and it had pictures of people all dressed up when they went to take out their bins during lockdown. At the time, I thought it was hilarious in a sad kind of way.

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    1. Hi Bethany, thanks for stopping by and reading my post. That FB group sounds interesting, but as you said, in a sad kind of way. I wish you a great week ahead! Cheryl

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  14. The big rubbish containers in Bulgaria are similar to the ones I have seen in Odessa, Ukraine, when I lived there in 2003-2008. It was funny that the locals called them “Altvater” (which is German for “Old dad”), presumably because of the name of a German company that has initially installed and maintained them. After a few years of hopeless endeavors to bring the rubbish issue “in Ordnung”, the company left, leaving the containers to the local authorities, but the name remained.

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    1. Hi Oksana! I found it interesting that Ukraine used Germany to supply their rubbish containers! What a shame that it didn’t work out, although I do understand and can’t see the German and Ukraine ‘systems’ working well together, especially back then. But it’s very cool that they kept the German name for them. It’s been so interesting for me to learn about rubbish bins in different countries! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, have a lovely week.

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