Rome's new bins get thumbs down from smokers

Rome unveiled new-look bins at the Pantheon but it seems that smokers are not happy.

When Rome's mayor Virginia Raggi unveiled the city's new-look trash bins last month, many people were impressed and saw the new prototype as an improvement on the old 'transparent bag' variety.

The bins were installed in the historic centre on an "experimental basis," against a backdrop none other than the Pantheon, with applause from the mayor.

However rubbish collection is a serious matter in Rome and the new design soon courted mixed views from Romans.

Some suggested the bin evoked the shape of an ancient Roman amphora, others thought it resembled a funeral urn.

The latest criticism of the bins comes from smokers who claim they have nowhere to put out their cigarettes.

"It is already full of butts on the ground" comments the chairman of the environment committee in the city's central Municipio 1, Stefano Marin, who along with several other councillors from the centre-left Partito Democratico (PD) has put forward a motion calling for a redesign of the bins to accommodate the needs of smokers.

The bins have been described by Rome refuse collection agency AMA as "sober and minimal." Critics suggest the bins are so minimal that they have no ashtray feature to allow smokers to extinguish cigarettes before disposing of them safely.

The current version with the loose bags was introduced several years ago, replacing the old cast-iron bins, for security reasons in line with elevated anti-terrorism levels.

However, as Raggi points out, these exposed bags often break, "causing the rubbish to fall to the ground."

Apart from blowing in the wind, the main problem encountered by these bins has been the city's seagulls which peck away with ease at the bags.

The design of the latest version of Rome's bins has taken years and this is the first model to meet the demands imposed by the police (for security), by cultural authorities (for aesthetic reasons) and by the refuse agency AMA (for practicality of rubbish collection).

However it seems that smokers were not included in this criteria and now it looks like it could be a case of "back to the drawing board" to modify the design of the new bins before they are rolled out across the historic centre.

Cover photo La Repubblica

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Rome's new bins get thumbs down from smokers

Piazza della Rotonda, 00186 Roma RM, Italy