Six of the best / wastepaper bins
1 Wavy wooden bin, pounds 45 The most expensive here, this is really for those tempted by "designer" office accessories. There is something rather organic and satisfying about the shape but in general it is rather over-done, and the bright colours would probably become irritating. From The Conran Shop, 81 Fulham Road, London SW3 6RD (mail-order on 0171-589 7401); Purves & Purves, 80-83 Tottenham Court Rd, London W1 (mail-order on 0171-436 8860) and Heal's, 196 Tottenham Court Rd, London W1. Marks out of 10: 6

2 Brown paper bin, pounds 22.50 Although a little whimsical, this gets a thumbs up. The metal rim makes it good and solid so it should be able to withstand even the heftiest junk mail, and its size means that you don't have to empty it that often. From The Conran Shop, details as above. Marks out of 10: 8

3 Metal wicker bin, pounds 21.50 A nice twist on the traditional wicker wastepaper bin: thin strips of metal are woven together to create a strong elegant basket which looks far more expensive than it is. Everybody at the Independent asked: can I have it? No, go and buy your own. From The Conran Shop, as above. Marks out of 10: 10

4Cardboard bin, pounds 3.25 - pounds 6.99 A nifty pop-up design that comes in a flat pack.Made of recycled cardboard and comes in a range of sizes and colours - hot pink, blue, green and yellow. Although very simple and cheap the bins are surprisingly sturdy and can easily double as storage boxes . Just don't drop any lighted cigarettes in them. From Paperchase, 213 Tottenham Court Road, London W1 (for mail-order call 0171-580 8496). Marks out of 10: 7.

5 Gold bin, pounds 3.75 The idea is to cover it with fabric or paper, or you can try a spot of decoupage. Get going with the scissors and glue and once you have finished you can put it through its paces as a bin by filling it with all your mess. If this sounds too exhausting it looks just as good naked. There is also a largerl version for pounds 6.25. John Lewis stores nationwide (enquiries on 0171-629 7711). Marks out of 10: 8

6 Small white bin with feet, pounds 17.60 The sturdiest of the lot, this wooden bin comes with a primer undercoat and you can either decorate it yourself or Scaramanga will do it for you. Past orders have included names and coats of arms. Ready-to-use versions come with a variety of paint effect finishes - crackle glaze and ragged - and cost pounds 35 (plus pounds 5 p&p). From Scaramanga Ltd, Somerton, Somerset (01458 273999). Marks out of 10: 7