Incidental beauty: the compost bin

Cheap thin plastic can be beautifully translucent. It is the stained glass of the industrial age.

This is our plastic compost bin trapped in a shaft of late afternoon sunlight. It lit up like a lantern for a few moments, filling the kitchen with a warm glow.

According to its label, the bin entered this life in a factory in Ho Chi Minh City that was no doubt thick with the sharp, chemical smell of molten plastic. I assume the lid and the bin were moulded separately, and then united by chance. If that lid had not been united with that bin, I expect the two parts would never have met, and would be lighting kitchens in far distant corners of the world.

A beautiful lantern? Yes … and a compost bin, too.