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Put your trash into Orbit

Put your trash into Orbit — Manitoba's vintage roadside trash bins. File photo from the Winnipeg Tribune, Nov. 1, 1969.

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Put your trash into Orbit — Manitoba's vintage roadside trash bins. File photo from the Winnipeg Tribune, Nov. 1, 1969. (CHALMERS / WINNIPEG TRIBUNE ARCHIVES)

Classic

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Classic "Put your trash into Orbit" shirt, riffing on Manitoba retro. (BIG FLAMING PILE)

I never thought that I would say I loved watching a documentary about litter receptacles, but this 15-minute look back at Manitoba's "Orbit" highwayside bins was a real joy. It tickled my nostalgia bone a lot.

As a child, I didn't really realize that the "Orbits" were Manitoba-specific. My father's family is from Winnipeg, but I grew up in Brandon, so there were lots of hours back and forth on the highway growing up, and the "Orbits" were a memorable part of the travel scenery.

I remember my parents breaking it to me, gently, that the trash didn't literally go into Orbit.

Like many highway amenities, it always did seem that they were inconveniently far off to the side, and we generally kept our trash until we were home, but I do miss the sight of them.

Certainly, I see that big plastic modern bins are probably cheaper, and more easily emptied by machine, but I think they show a lack of imagination.

I miss the whimsy that "Orbits" used to bring to our highways.

As recently as 2001 (pdf), there were "several" for sale in a massive farm and antiques action listed in the Brandon Sun classifieds. I like the idea of having them in the Manitoba Museum, but I wonder if there's somewhere in Brandon that one of the old "Orbits" would fit, too.

Perhaps by the Riverbank Discovery Centre? Or maybe in the Brandon University sculpture garden?

In the meantime, if you'd like a T-shirt as memorabilia (I posted an image to the side), they appear to be available online, for $20, at Big Flaming Pile. Red, Blue or Chocolate.

And, if you're interested in further reading, Christian Cassidy did a blog post about these a couple of years ago. And, I've previously written about my love for Brandon's own whimsical litter boxes.

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