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London to get bomb-proof recycling bins

An artist impression obtained from Waughton in London shows a bomb-proof recycling bin. Central London's financial district will begin installing bomb-proof recycling bins from next year. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Nov 3, 2008
Central London's financial district will begin installing bomb-proof recycling bins from next year, the company responsible for the product said Monday.

The bins, which cost around 30,000 pounds (48,000 dollars, 38,000 euros) each to produce and install, will also feature news and weather information on LCD screens that are part of the bins.

"From a blast technology side, it's just something that should be there," said Brian James, the chief operating officer of Media Metrica, the company providing the product.

"You don't expect to get into an accident, but you make sure you have seat belts," he told AFP.

Media Metrica will fund the production, installation and maintenance of the bins after signing a 15-year contract with the City of London, the local authority that administers the British capital's financial district.

James said the company was in talks with potential corporate sponsors, and expected to finalise those arrangements by the end of March 2009, with the bins being installed by the end of next year in around 100 locations.

"It's a pretty expensive product to produce, because as you can imagine, the blast technology is basically military technology," he said. "It's very expensive to put in."

The screens on the units will feature light-sensitive technology that will ensure that they automatically brighten or dim, depending on the strength of light at the time, and James said he expected they would be powered using green technology.

The bins themselves, which were extensively tested in the American state of New Mexico, are made of a steel composite produced using "blast-intelligent technology" that would absorb the force and fire of any potential explosion.

James said that while the company would be interested in installing the recycling bins on London Underground stations, it was more focused on discussions with other major cities such as New York, Singapore and Tokyo.

There are a very small number of garbage bins in the City of London. Most were removed in the early to mid-1990s after Irish Republican Army attacks in the capital over fears that bombs could be concealed in them.

Other public areas regarded as sensitive, such as footpaths outside parliament and civil service buildings, also lack garbage bins.

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