Recycling the news

There’s an oft quoted line from Ulrich Beck about how “modernity is becoming its own theme”. This, along with David Quantick’s warning that “pop will eat itself”, rang through my ears earlier today when I spotted this in the City of London: a flashy new newspaper recycling bin, which provides weather, travel and news updates through sparkly screens running down its side.

That’s a newspaper recycling bin that, itself, gives you the news. I’d say “welcome to the future” but I think it’s quite obvious that the future arrived a while back and we’re trying to find ever more inventive ways to deal with this.

Anyway, here’s a scary new technological object. I’m not sure what to make of it. I’d be interested to know how other people feel.

EDIT: 30th Jan. The Guardian are now live-blogging the Guardian. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does demonstrate another way in which news is eating itself (I don’t think this is an especially new development by the way, just interesting to spot new iterations of it).

14 thoughts on “Recycling the news

  1. Dawn Foster

    What a waste of energy. Also, why do you need something outside to tell you what the weather is like outside?

  2. paulbhutchings

    All part of ‘the nudge’ – attention drawn by information, see a recycle bin, use a recycle bin.

    However, if it is going to give news headlines and adverts as well is it a case of ‘garbage in, garbage out’?

    1. alice Post author

      Nudge idea is a good point, one of the weird things about it is that it doesn’t (to me at least) look like a recycling bin, but maybe the fact that it gives news will make you put your Metro in it. Maybe.

  3. Glas

    Surely “provides weather, travel and news updates plus adverts for the local McDonalds”? At least I hope it’s ad-funded; I’d hate to think public money was funding it.

  4. Philip Wolstenholme

    It’s shiny but is there much of a point? All that weather and news is on free papers and smartphones anyway. Is there anything to indicate it’s meant for papers only? At a glance it looks like a normal bin to me, which means more will have to be spent on sorting the waste collected. A cynic would mention the irony of a recycling bin that itself constantly consumes energy…

  5. PeterM

    “A cynic would mention the irony of a recycling bin that itself constantly consumes energy…”

    My thoughts exactly. What must the carbon footprint of this thing be? Somebody is seriously missing the point of recycling.

    1. alice Post author

      Yes, the first comment from Dawn also said what a waste of energy, which occurred to me too, though I would like to actually know how much energy these things use.

  6. Eben MarksEben

    Hello, bit late to the comments party, but here’s the website for the bins: Apparently they have a 21 year tender from the City of London Corporation to tackle the problem of free newspapers being dropped on the streets. It’s clear they see themselves as providing a media network first, the bin is just there to dispose of the opposition, they play up their green credentials as replacing the need for paper production and distribution.

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