Home Tech Apple Ich bin ein Binliner: How Apple binned the trash

Ich bin ein Binliner: How Apple binned the trash

Thankfully, Brabantia has a sense of humour which brings a smile to my face every time I change a liner in my bathroom "rubbish bin". Trash nowhere in sight.

The word trash has never slipped easily off the British tongue. Everyone knows what it means, of course, but it is a question of usage. In the sense of rubbish, trash is very much an American usage. Had it not been for the popularisation of “trash can” in the world of computing, it would probably have gained little leverage on this side of the Atlantic.

Thankfully, Brabantia has a sense of humour which brings a smile to my face every time I change a liner in my bathroom "rubbish bin". Trash nowhere in sight.
Thankfully, Brabantia has a sense of humour which brings a smile to my face every time I change a liner in my bathroom “rubbish bin”. Trash nowhere in sight.

Yet just as we have rather gotten (sic) used to filing our gems in the trash can, the boffins of Cupertino have upset the Apple cart. Trash has been binned in Apple’s latest Mac operating system, Catalina (aka 10.15).

Bin it now

At first, after my problem-free upgrade, I was searching for the trash, only to realise it has become The Bin. Having become accustomed to thinking trash in computer terms for over thirty years, this sudden and unexpected change came as a shock.

I’m left wondering why Apple decided on this move at this time, just as we were getting used to trash as a concept. Who, I wonder, came up with the suggestion and why was it adopted? I, for one, would have been quite happy to stick with trash.

It has a certain finality to it that the British “rubbish” seems to lack.

The trash is dead, long live the rubbish bin.


  1. Couldn’t agree more, Michael. It will take me some time to get used to binning rather than trashing.
    Love the humour of your bin! It was of course JFK who famously said: “Ich bin ein Berliner” when he was in Berlin which , although his meaning was totally comprehensible, was also amusing to Germans since a Berliner is I think a kind of cream bun!

    • Yes, a Berliner is a sort of doughnut and Kennedy’s speech did cause some amusement although, grammatically it was perfectly logical and correct. But if he’d said he was a Hamburger no one would have blinked an eye.

  2. When I was young we had a thing called a ‘sloppy bin’ outside the back door where we put food remnants. Once a week a chap called the ‘sloppy man’ came down our road and took away the contents of the ‘sloppy bin’ to feed pigs somewhere. Recycling before we knew what it was.

    As for Americanisms like trash, Fall and trunk, instead of rubbish, Autumn and boot, I am polishing up on those before my trip to Boston for the LHSA AGM next week. They used to talk about Britain and the US as being allies separated by an ocean and divided by a common language (the Irish being out of step on both sides of the Atlantic, of course). Perhaps the ‘Bin’ is a sign that Apple is going ‘all international’ at last.


    • I was surprised when I married into Ireland just over forty years ago, at the different lexicon used by ordinary people. In my part of Ireland, a cupboard is known as a press. Soil is known as clay, whilst clay is referred to as marl. I no longer think about it whilst there, I don’t notice those differences any more and off the top of my head I cannot bring other oddities to mind. There are plenty though.

      I have been told that the accent with the slight west country burr that many Americans speak with, is part of the same phenomenon. That people who become cut off from the root, develop language in a different way. The Americans because they were forming a new country and the Irish because they were divorcing themselves whilst some still spoke Irish and spoke just enough English to get by, but both physically apart from England. So probably Sir Francis Drake a full blooded Englishman, perhaps spoke more like JFK than HMQ.

      But the words. Though Americans seem to use many Irish uses of English that the English have forgotten, now they are the leading English speaking nation, and they are very frequently the creators of new words that we on this side of the pond might start to use.

      For some inexplicable reason, when I used to run a Windows computer, I used to rename that object to Rubbish Bin (didn’t MS use the word “recycling”), by the time I had got to Mac though I had gone mainly native and now I just buy the machine and use it, where previously I used to build and configure them, and some Americanisms annoyed me at the time. I noticed the changed name immediately, and scratched my head, as there seems to be no point in it whatsoever.

      I would much rather that I was allowed to run the odd 32bit program, but that little advantage seems to have been removed at the same time. I have an old iMac 27, and it won’t go past Sierra (I think), so I am considering turning it into a Linux machine to see whether I can get along with that, not that I am that bothered, just something to do now that the nights are drawing in.

  3. I can see confusion arising here, as any video editors amongst us organise our footage into ‘bins’ in their editing programs like Premiere and Resolve, and it certainly isn’t for throwing away!

    • Simon, thanks for adding to the confusion. I think they should have just left it as trash. Everyone is used to it by now and this just smacks of change for change’s sake. Mike

    • Yes, I think you are right. I had “basket” at the back of my mind but couldn’t be bothered to check up on it. Strangely, when I was writing the article, the word “waste” never crossed my mind. I was fixated on trash and rubbish. Just shows. But now, after all those years of “trash”, it sounds so odd to be using “bin”. However, “bin that” is still a common expression so I suppose we’ll get used to it.


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