Last October I was standing in a department store in Berlin and spotted a collection of rainbow bins in the distance. I went in for a closer look and found that they were a collection of retro style bins by the brand Wesco. They were colourful, appeared to be of a high quality (German products usually are) and had that 50s style that I love so much. It’s true, that was the moment I fell in love with a bin.
So, when the friendly folk over at Binopolis got in contact and asked if I’d like to review a bin from their collection I jumped at the chance. I was already aware of Binopolis because I’d been eyeing up the wonderful collection of Wesco bins on their website since my last trip to Germany.
Some people might think it’s a little over the top to get excited about a bin. I disagree. My aim over the next few years is to buy less and instead invest in high quality items for my home (with my next move in mind) which I believe are going to last. A bin is used on a daily basis and can take up a large space in the kitchen. Therefore, I think it’s important to have something that not only looks good but is also built to a very high standard. I don’t want to go out and replace my bin every year, which I’ve been doing each time I’ve moved in the last few years (4 times – wasting money and adding to landfills). I much prefer to buy once and ensure it’s going to last. This goes for other home-ware items and clothes.
I picked out the Wesco Pushboy bin* in turquoise and I can confirm that it’s a real beauty. It’s a 50 litre bin which is perfect for a family sized kitchen. My Pushboy takes prime place in my kitchen and adds a good burst of colour to the room.
The bin flap is very easy to push open and pop rubbish into the bin. It swings back into place and firmly locks in odours. It’s also to easy to wipe over and keep your bin looking spotless. I particularly like the stainless steel handles on the side of the bin. They make it very easy for you to lift the bin off and you’re then left with the stainless steel container inside. You then remove the rubber band (prevents the bin bag from falling down) and simply lift it out.
Wesco bins are made in Germany form durable stainless steel. The Pushboy is the original Wesco bin but they now have many other shapes, sizes and styles within their collection. You must check out the Spaceboy bin, it’s so fun.
After a month of using my Wesco bin I’ve noticed that it has an industrial quality to it and yet still look fab in my kitchen. It’s easy to use, very sturdy and the rubber band which prevents the bin bag from slipping down into the bin is a game changer. The colourful and timeliness style style of this bin helps to brighten up my flat. I know it’s going to fit right in with our next move too.
Binopolis not only stock Wesco bins but a whole host of stylish, quality and functional bins. The website is a pleasure to use and the team behind Binopolis are focused on offering quality customer service. The founders of Binopolis, Robert and Jane, kindly answered a few of my questions about their business. I hope you enjoy the interview.
Where did the inspiration for Binopolis come from?
We’d had a new recycling scheme introduced and were surprised at how difficult it was to find a good-looking double kitchen bin. There were very few in the shops, and most online retailers’ sites were not customer friendly. We realised that having to sort out the recycling and waste was going to present growing numbers of people across the UK with the challenge of finding bins for the kitchen that looked good and functioned well. We aimed to find quality products, select the best and bring them together to give customers great choice and service in one convenient online store.
How did you decide upon the name of your brand?
Like all the best brand names, it came in a flash of inspiration as a way of combining the word ‘bin’ with the concept of a wide choice. We knew the brand would be visually stylish so ‘Binopolis’ was born as a way to imply ‘big selection of bins’. If it reminds anyone of the film ‘Metropolis’ that’s an added bonus!
Why do you believe a good quality bin so important?
A lot of excellent design and engineering goes into a quality bin which shows in the finished product and what it’s like to look at and use every day. Cheap bins tend to clang, go rusty, tip over, scrape the wall or put up a fight when you pull the liner out. This makes the daily process of recycling or throwing out the rubbish annoying and time consuming. Top quality bins have been well designed with functionality and the user experience in mind, with quiet soft-close lids, solid build quality, internal hinges to stop lids hitting the wall and often with vacuum-proof inner bins. Our built-in bins are strongly made with smooth runners and we only sell top quality ones to give customers years of use.
Quality bins are also designed to look good. You can think of them as another appliance or piece of furniture in the room and they should make a positive contribution to the space. Some are designed with fabulous colours and finishes which are worth making a feature of, and others are designed to blend discreetly into the background with space-efficient shapes and neutral colours.
The bins stocked on Binopolis are not only high quality but also very stylish. Have you always had a keen eye for interiors?
Our backgrounds are in design and retailing and we’ve worked on concept and brand development for stylish businesses including Selfridges, Top Shop, Waitrose, Debenhams and Abbey Road Studios. When we created Binopolis we had the customer firmly in mind and envisaged the type of interior designs they may have, from sleek city looks and ‘industrial chic’ lofts and offices, through to more traditional homes, and everything in between. We like to think we have a bin to work with just about any style and we really enjoy keeping up with interior trends.
Many of the bins on your site have a recycling function, how important is recycling to you?
We believe in recycling because it simply makes sense to conserve materials such as glass, aluminium, paper, card and clear plastics which can all be re-used and reformed into new products more cheaply than making from raw materials. At the same time we realise that sorting out the recycling puts extra demands on people’s time and space at home. A good recycling bin, or set of bins, makes the task easier and shouldn’t spoil your interior, so if we can help customers get their recycling organised with our design ideas and products, then that’s great.
Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Create your brand and stick to it. The brand has to be communicated consistently every time a customer interacts with you. Don’t let people sway you towards the ordinary if that’s not what you’re about: if you or your product or service has some personality and character don’t be afraid to use it to connect with people.
Your business exists for your customers and not for you. It’s very easy to choose a product range based only on what you would buy, or to provide a service that you would use, and sometimes a unique offer with a passionate person behind it can really work, as long as it meets or creates a demand. In general though it’s always good to step outside the business and look at it from a customer’s viewpoint. Starting Binopolis was inspired by our own need to recycle, but we expanded that whole idea based on what customers were offered in the marketplace at that time, choosing the products that we thought would best meet their needs and presenting them in a customer-friendly way on the site.
Having satisfied customers is critical. There’s no great mystery to ‘customer service’: we like to be treated fairly and with respect when we buy things, so we adopted the same principles for Binopolis.
I’d like to say a big thank you to Binopolis for taking the time to answer my questions. I hope you’ve all found it as interesting and useful as I have. I love to support UK based businesses and I know many of you do too. I’d also like to thank Binopolis for giving me the opportunity to review my dream bin.
I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about the bin. Simply drop me a message on Twitter or leave a comment below.