Dual purpose bin for newspapers and other waste

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Free newspapers have been a successful part of the Dutch landscape for a while now, and sometimes a bit too much so. The railway stations and trains especially are littered with discarded copies. Sometimes that can be useful (if you do not have the time to grab a copy from an official dispenser), at other times finding a place to sit among a sea of paper can be a nuisance.

I spotted this dual purpose disposal bin at Bijlmer station last week. One slot says ‘afval’ (garbage), the other says ‘kranten’ (newspapers).

According to Uli Schnier of Stichting Nederland Schoon (the Netherlands Clean Foundation), two-thirds of all the waste at railway stations consists of paper, OVnieuws.info reported in March 2009. The large majority of that paper stems from copies of the free newspapers. Each copy is read by three different people on average.

Rail authority Prorail has experimented with blue waste paper bins in the past year (see the photos at the OVnieuws article), but you will forgive me if I had never noticed them before, because they look just like the bins for regular garbage. These new ‘exclamation marks’, also by Prorail, certainly make their point better.

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