Wheelie useful?

The bin farm - they all fitted fine beforeWe recently had our wheelie bins swapped around, as per Lewisham Council's new drive to get residents to recycle more and throw away less. There's more information on the Recycle for Lewisham blog. [Brockley Nick adds - or read Nigel Tyrell's excellent explanation of the Council's approach here]

We're glad to be getting more recycling bins - our old one was always full. Only thing is, our house (consisting of 6 flats) now has far too many bins. It seems like we've had a net gain in bin capacity, and it's looking a bit unsightly.

We wondered if any readers had similar experiences, and what your thoughts are on the new bin replacement strategy?

38 comments:

I'm sick of it said...

I think it is a waste of money to swap the bins; it will lead to dumping and overflowing bins; and if there is ONE thing I want for my tax money,it is refuse collection

Tamsin said...

I think that a black bin with a green lid is just SO ugly. Hardly condusive to a nice street-scape. We had lent our new green bin, received a while back, to a friend down the road - rapidly took steps to get it back with the threat of having our black bin decapitated and rendered hideous if we did not have a green bin to the fore.

OK with having a smaller black bin - the big one was usually only ever a quarter full - unless we had been doing hedge clipping, which we shall now be encouraged to be good and take up to the Garden Waste re-cycle on Kitto Road every Saturday.

I'm sick of it said...

I'm afraid I don't think everyone will be as good as Tamsin about taking there waste elsewhere (and are you going to walk or drive - there's an environmental cost there) - I think the majority will end up dumped on the streets, in neighbours bins and on waste ground.

Tamsin said...

Well, actually we live close enough to walk. I plan to squirrel away my big black bin (which I have known and loved for a good few years now and has our house number nicely stencilled onto it) so that it is not snatched back by the Council. I will then keep it for garden waste which can be wheeled (I hope) to the top of the road.

The way to cart around Christmas trees as well.

No real issue with dumping in neighbours bins as long as one asks first and only do it after they have put in all rubbish they need to get rid of that week. Community and all that...

david said...

Happy to have the smaller black bin and please that I don't have to have the new two tone recycling bin (much prefer the old all green version) but then if the new recycling bin is a cost cutting / reuse issue (ie they are really just changing the lids on the old black ones - are they? I haven't seen one) then the ugly is a small price to pay I guess. But, if there's a net gain in non-recycling bin capacity as suggested by Nick's experience then it becomes a "what's the point" exercise.

Brockley Nick said...

@David - it's Jon's article.

I think the smaller bins are a good idea. I do believe it will envourage people to cut waste - i don't expect to see more dumping - the people who dump their waste on the streets seem to do so regardless of whether there's an empty bin available.

Even better, they are easier to move about and fit in people's front gardens, which means there appear to be fewer loitering on the pavement (and those that do are smaller).

As for the green lids - smart idea to reuse bins - the best way to cut waste...

Stanley said...

Think yourself lucky Jon. In my house (consisting of three flats) we have to make do with one green and one black. And sometimes no green as the tw*t who used to live in the flat below dumped landfill refuse in it, so Lewisham felt the need to punish us all by taking it away. Consequently, there aren't enough green bins for the whole block.

Anonymous said...

These smaller bins are an outrage. All this in a day and age when the government should stop wasting money they are replacing perfectly useable bins. The notion that people will change their lifestyles because of a smaller bin is at best silly and at worst insulting.

david said...

@ Nick - bugga! Apologies Jon! (He says hanging his head in shame - having previously quietly chuckled when others posted responses to BN when they were BK posts.) BUGGA!

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon - from Nigel Tyrell's article, linked to in this blog:

"We’ll be using most of these old 240 litre bins as containers for residents’ dry recyclables. So the aim here is to increase the amount of waste recycled, but reduce the overall amount of waste collected. We’ve done pretty well with this, over the past few years, the amount of waste produced per head of the population in Lewisham has reduced from 470 kg in 2005/06 to 430 kg in 2008/09."

practical said...

Right it's time to put pressure on Sainsburys and Tesco, I want my cornflakes in refillable bags not boxes.

Who's with me?

Anonymous said...

@ Brockley Nick

the Lewisham website linked in the article says that they ran a trial with 1,500 households and they will be handing out 20,000 more. Meanwhile over the period mentioned for the council as a whole, waste production has gone down from 470kg to 430kg, or roughly 8%. This can mean that the 7.5% of households in the trial have started to produce zero (or even 'negative waste') or that under the influence of wider efforts to make people more aware of the waste they produce everybody has produced 8% less.

Do you seriously think people will change their lifestyles because of a smaller bin?

Sevenoakser said...

When I moved into a new local council area in Sydney in 2002 I was horrified that my block of nine two-bed flats only got one single small wheelie bin for rubbish (picked up twice a week), versus much larger recycling bin and another for garden/food waste. I thought I was already a very good little recycler and how would I cope? But it did the trick - it MADE everyone be absolutely unable to be anything but ruthless about their paring down of non-recyclable junk. When I got used to it I was horrified to think back to how conducive to laziness the big capacious bin versus small recycling tub was.

Brockley Nick said...

Sevenoakser has illustrated the point nicely. Give people bigger wine glasses, they drink more, paint the road markings horizontally, they slow down. Perception influences behaviour.

I'm not suggesting that that the reduction was all due to smaller bins, but clearly they have a role to play in cutting wastefulness over time.

But as I say, the main reason I support them is that you can hardly walk down many streets due to wheelie bins clogging the pavement. The smaller ones can be kept off the streets more easily and occupy less pavement when left out.

The other reason for posting the quote was to point out that the old bins aren't (mostly) just being thrown away as the original anon inferred, they are being reused. It wasn't that long ago that there was a shortage of recycling bins due to a fire at one of Europe's two bin factories...

Anonymous said...

Funny how every council across the country seems to have a different approach, different agenda.

One would of thought that the best plans could have been...recycled? Instead we have unnecessary duplication of effort, different rules in different places and no doubt a small army of bin officers to supervise.

Bins off footpaths said...

I am pretty sure, that when wheelie bins were introduced the amount of rubbish thrown away went up. Which I am told is a reason some councils have refused to introduce them.

When they were introduced, I lived in a small terraced house which was converted in to two flats. We had only one small garden and we said can we have the smaller bin (which was on offer then) and we'll just have one to share. We dutifully took it through the flat every week to stop the street looking unsightly. Those were the days.

Just think I could have been one of those thoughtless folk who block footpaths because they can't be bothered putting their bin on their drive or in their front garden

Tamsin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tamsin said...

@practical. Boxes aren't too bad - they can at least be recycled and can be made of recycled materials. What one wants is the "sorry not recyclable yet" plastic containers issue attacked from both sides - manufacturers of yoghurt and spreads etc changing to recyclable stuff and more being recyclable.

Also people should be weaned off the fluffy puppy/koala bear/be- kind-to-your-behind loo rolls that cannot be made out of recycled paper (anyone remember the Izal stuff that came in boxes and had to be scrunched up soften it?). And use less. Read somewhere recently that the average American uses 57 sheets a day.

Sevenoakser said...

Was appalled as an Australian when koalas started popping up on loo roll packages here recently. I mean puppies kind of make sense what with being soft and all, but koalas? They are maniacs. All unearthly screeches and flailing claws.

Anonymous said...

I can never understand why people pay huge amounts of money for those koala/puppy loo rolls- 48p for four from Sainsbury's basics for me, made from recycled paper and less like flushing cash straight down toilet. The real problem is the mixed plastics; when are we going to be able to put them in the RB rather than slepping to reclycing points with them?

Tamsin said...

Is Sainsbury's basics now recycled? When I last looked at the small print it wasn't - you had to pay more for your principles get the "revive" brand - more expensive per sheet, almost up there with the puppies.

Monkeyboy said...

I've taken to using the BNP's publicity. It's the only way I've found of feeding back to Tess, she's not popped round to canvas. Take the staples out first though.

Brockley Jon said...

LOL Monkeyboy!

Stanley, pop round ours and grab yourself a couple :)

David - no probs, my posts are so few and far between that it's quite forgivable to assume they're Nick's!

Anonymous said...

Surely it would have been cheaper to Install some kind of Insert in the existing bins than to buy all new small ones.

Tamsin said...

But it's all on glossy now. Worse than the Izal paper - takes an awful lot of scrunching.

In India, not for the paper, but for the loo-rolls themselves they re-use newspaper so minimally processed that it is still visible as such and even legible. Not sure whether to be sad at the come-down or pleased for the extended publicity when you find an obit. picture and paragraph in such circumstances.

Headhunter said...

It may be the case that smaller bins encourage households to recycle more however I agree with Practical, I think that rather than putting pressure on end users, the government/councils should be pressuring retailers and producers to use less packaging. Then there would be no need for capacious wheelie bins. Let's see more refillable packaging.

I'm sure I heard somewhere that Ecover, the environmentally friendly soap manufacturer fell out with some of the major supermarket brands because they refused to stock Ecover products in large vats from which customers could refill bottles, insisting that Ecover provide their products in thousands of throwaway bottles.

Anonymous said...

The idea with having a smaller conventional bin is to make people separate their waste. That makes recycling posible downstream. Once you get in the habit it's not difficult.

Headhunter said...

Yes, it's important to separate waste and recycle, however the ideal solution would be to not create waste in the first place by forcing retailers and producers to reduce packaging. Recycling is only the 2nd best option.

Anonymous said...

We don't have the ideal solution so let's make a contribution. It's pragmatic step

Brockley Nick said...

@Headhunter - that's precisely what's already being done. Retailers are putting enormous pressure on manufacturers to reduce packaging.

@Anon 2345 - likewise, there is already a great deal of best-practice sharing through organisations like the LGA. Although every area is different, of course.

Headhunter said...

Some retailers may be reducing waste, but the example I stated above re Ecover shows that not all are.

Also supermarkets STILL provide plastic bags willy nilly, despite making a lot of noise about phasing them out a few months back. I noticed that for a short period, plastic bags were no longer on racks and easily accessible at Sainsbury's and Tesco and you actually had to ask for a bag. I thought this was a step towards abolishing free bags altogether, but no, now at most supermarkets the counter staff simply chuck bundles of bags out, they're just not on nice racks anymore.

Also I've noticed an increasing tendency to wrap vegetables in shrink plastic, whereas a few years back they were loose and you could actually recycle bags, filling them with loose carrots, broccoli etc.

Just a few observations of the status quo or increasing use of packaging at supermarkets.

Headhunter said...

Oh and supermarkets and manufacturers still don't operate returnable glass bottle schemes in this country as they do across a lot of Europe. They used to in the 70s and before. Far better to reuse glass in its current form than crush it, melt it and reform it into something else, all of which takes energy.

Tamsin said...

The "Core" apple-juice sellers at the Farmers Market will take back the bottles - still a little bit cheaper for him to clean old ones than buy new ones - so a good thing all round.

Not as good as it could be, agreed, but there are fewer plastic bags around - I get asked in Sainbury's and so feel guilty if I want one. Asda charges you. And, generally, I now sometimes have fewer than I need for the small rubbish bin in the kitchen.

practical said...

The Shop on The Hill allows you to refill washing up liquid, olive oil, and variety of things. If there was a clear economic incentive to not fill your bin, refilling & recycling would take off.

Tamsin said...

Are we being done down in my bit of Telegraph Hill? Haven't got our replacement bin yet....

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Headhunter said...

Manor Avenue had its bins decapitated and switched last Sat. Good to have more recycling bins as the single 1 we had before used to fill up very quickly (4 flats, 1 recycling bin). The only thing is that now we have 3 little grey bins which take up more space in the front garden, but hey that's progress... I suppose...

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