Want smaller bins?

In response to a suggestion by BCer Jonathan, we've set up a petition for readers who would like the Council to offer local residents smaller bins.

Many of our pavements are clogged with wheelie bins, which is ugly and often inconvenient to pedestrians, especially people with pushchairs or in wheelchairs.

Lewisham Council say they will introduce smaller recycling bins in an area if more than 300 people ask for them. The smaller bins would not be compulsory, but those who want them would benefit, as would everyone else who will have to navigate fewer of them on their daily walks.

The Council recently introduced smaller black bins which cut waste and reduced pavement clutter without causing any problems, so this petition is designed to show the Council that there is a local demand for smaller bins.

If the petition gets to 300+ names, we'll pass it on to the Council.

61 comments:

Howson Road said...

What do they mean by 'in an area'? A road? The whole of Brockley? I would very much like to keep my big bins, as my household needs them.

L said...

I'd rather they invested in better recycling collections from our green bins and collected mixed plastics and tetrapak cartons from green bins. And collected food waste like some of our neighbouring boroughs do.

And anyway, my house has 3 flats and we need our big recycling bin, we fill it most weeks.

Mb said...

Yes, I don't need a massive green bin.

That is all. Back to hackgate on the TV

TJ said...

and if we don't want smaller bins - can we register that on your petition?

Anonymous said...

I really want a garden waste bin & if we could get a food one as well virtually nothing would go in the black bin. Tried composting but th foxes & mice liked it too much.

kolp said...

It's not smaller bins, it's just less bins. We've still got both sets the older large ones and the newer slimmer ones.

Carys said...

We got a smaller bin when our old one was stolen, and it's not big enough. We recycle what we can, which is a lot, but there's still times when our black bin's overflowing. We're two households sharing one tiny black bin - the second we do DIY or something the bin's full, and none of us have a car to go to the tip. The bin being overfull means the lid won't close, which attracts pests.

So if you want a smaller bin, you can take ours!

Anonymous said...

Oh for christ's sake, I hope Lewisham Council have a newsletter listing the potty suggestions from Brockley residents taking up their time. If they didn't laugh, they'd cry...

Brockley Nick said...

@TJ - my understanding is it's optional. I don't personally want a smaller bin (I've reconfigured the front of my house so I can store two normal bins off the pavement) and I'm sure it would be the same for many large households, but I'd be glad that others have the option to take one.

@Howson - dunno, I imagine it's a plastic concept, but the petition asks people to register their postcode, so I'm assuming if 300 with an SE4 postcode say they want one, they'll spring for a batch.

Anonymous said...

i asked for a smaller recycling bin, we recycle all we can but we never ever manage to even half fill a recycling bin. the larger recycling bin does not fit in our front garden, so it takes up pavement; i really hate that. a smaller 180l bin or 110l bin would fit.

the answer i got from the council is that they only order them in batches or 300 minimum, hence the target. that's for all of lewisham, not just brockley.

please spread the word - i am all for choice of which size bin everyone uses. i am not happy that only one size bin is offered as it's too frickin' large!!

(PS: i think it's my husband who suggested the petition idea to nick)

local yokel said...

Surely it's better to manoeuvre around a black bin than rubbish strewn on the streets. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

How about a 'do-gooder' bin squad for those that don't put their bins back rather than pushing for a 'one size fits all and make it small' approach.

Also Lewisham used to send out letters to people who were in the habit of leaving their bins on the street quoting the legalities - presumably they just got the info from the refuse collectors. Just enforce it.

Anonymous said...

I don't look at this site very often. This sort of thing is the reason why.

Slow news day was it?

Brockley Nick said...

@local - why is that a risk? People who need a bigger bin keep it. Those who don't, don't.

kolp said...

Between the neighbours & ourselves we have 12 bins, 3 green of which two are large. Neither house can accomodate more that 5 each- we always have 5, the neighbours vary how many they take and so the surplus ends up on the street, with the bins somehow always ending up outside our house.

When the council delivered these new slimmer bins, the assumption was the older larger ones would be taken away. That didn't happen hence the issue of bins on the street where we live.

Brockley Nick said...

Anon1918 - the day you do or think something interesting, be sure to let me know so I can report it to liven up the site.

pip said...

@Carys, have you tried asking for a bin? If there are two households sharing one bin, one of you doesn't officially have one.

Anonymous said...

Slippery slope. If Lewisham thinks there is a demand for smaller bins, they will impose them on all.
Why don't we just jump that hurdle and volunteer a user-pays charge?!

Brockley Michael said...

While it's undoubtedly true that some areas have more bins than space in which to put them, the problem in most parts of Brockley is that residents and binmen alike are too lazy to put their bins back into their front gardens/house frontage after they're emptied.

If the binmen can take them out of gardens I see no reason why they can't put them back, and thus out of the way.

Anonymous said...

The smaller bins are referring to recycling bins right?

What if the council starting collecting more materials as per L's suggestion, including mixed plastics and tetrapaks (which are quite bulky), the newer smaller bins would soon be redundant wouldn't they as people would fill them very quickly?

Carys said...

Pip - Possibly we would be able to get another bin, but I'd rather have one decent sized bin like we had before between us than two small ones. Especially as I did the garden to allow for two bins, not three.

I guess I should try calling - I'll report back and let you know whether they'll replace the small one for a bigger one.

local yokel said...

Nick,
think it will end up being imposed on all - so the slippery slope as suggested - or the lorries will be modified and won't be able to empty different sizes, better start looking at ways to condense the boxes brockley.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather the money not be wasted on bins. Your priorities are wrong with cuts happening to local public services...

Matt-Z said...

@ Local Yokel - you've been able to order a smaller regular bin for years in Lewisham, yet there's no sign of the larger bins becoming unavailable. For many multi-occupancy dwellings they are a necessity, for others a smaller bin will suffice and is therefore available. Why would it be any different for the recycling bins?

bumbags said...

I also think that at the moment Lewisham has better things to spend money on. By the time you factor in the committee hours approving them, the people ordering/paying for them, the delivery, the distribution, the actual cost of the 300 bins I think we'll be several thousands of pounds down. New bins are not a NEED, and also I'm not sure it's terribly 'eco' to be producing lots of new ones (and before someone says the old ones will be recycled, they may be, but carting them around then melting them down does take up lots of energy).

Brockley Nick said...

I would have thought there are significant medium to long-term savings to be had from introducing smaller bins - smaller bins help to change people's habits. Less stuff gets thrown away. Lower cost for refuse collection and disposal.

I suppose you wouldn't argue against fixing pavements on the grounds that doing so is not a "need", yet removing a lot of bins from our streets would make a bigger improvement to the day-to-day use of our pavements, for a lot less money, I imagine.

Tamsin said...

It's on my computer at work and I'm not in this Wednesday but the Council are trying really hard on bin collection generally... I had an e-mail "newsletter" from them explaining why certain plastics could not yet be recycled, where in the borough such things could be taken (if one had the means of transport for recycling) and that if you are unable through physical infirmity to get your bin out on the pavement for collection or back again afterwards you can specifically ask for "assisted clearance" - or whatever their term is. Just a number to ring and you get on a list for this special treatment.

bumbags said...

Not sure pavement-fixing is a good comparison, as if a pavement becomes dangerous it becomes necessary to fix it.
I'm not sure smaller bins do result in people throwing less stuff away unless everybody is made to have a smaller bin- and in this case you're saying only people that WANT small bins should have them. People who are aware of recycling/condensing rubbish are probably the very same people who would request the small bins.
Apart from the cost, I'm also aware of the problems arising if people don't have enough bin space. Overflowing bins (even full-to-brim ones with the lids ajar) encourage vermin. Or flytipping. Or annoying your neighbours by stuffing their bins (ooooh yes... takes me back to the snow weeks. I do condense rubbish and recycle, which is lucky, because that week some little scamp filled up my bin up with their bags!). I presume the foxes who often bring dirty nappies into my back garden are getting them from over-stuffed bins.

Anonymous said...

'Many of our pavements are clogged with wheelie bins, which is ugly and often inconvenient to pedestrians, especially people with pushchairs or in wheelchairs'.

Really? I don't see any evidence of this? Maybe on collection day and the majority are then taken back into peoples gardens. This is just embellishment to give this whole non starter petition some legs.

Mondee said...

But we're talking about smaller recycling bins here, not waste bins. I have had a smaller waste bin since our big one got nicked (yes, really) and that makes sense, like nick says, as it helps people to change their habits. But a smaller recycling bin? Surely the idea is that we should be recycling as much as possible and a big recycling bin encourages that. If we start recycling less because we have a smaller green bin, where are we going to put the rest? In the waste bin??

patrick1971 said...

@Tamsin: "the Council are trying really hard on bin collection generally"

I would agree and would suggest the rubbish collection is generally pretty good. But why don't they do food waste collection and tetrapack recycling? Neighbouring boroughs do it so it can be done; what's holding up Lewisham?

mb said...

Mondee....

Yes, in principle. But a large bin is the default, I simply do not produce that much waste. I've got a small front space dominated by two ugly bins so want to keep their size to a minimum. And Malpas road IS an obstical course and looks 'orrible when the bins are out. Large bins should be available if you need them, I don't. I've got a small waste bin, the green crates we used to have were too small, a small green wheely bin would be perfect. That's all.

I agree, it's not the biggest issue we have but you can use that for almost any council service from litter picking to cutting hedges.

Dusty said...

Cary if they wont give you a large bin ask for another small one,then ask if you can swap the 2 for a large one.

Lep Recorn said...

Mondee

It probably was not nicked but swallowed by the collection vehicle! when ours went missing and we phoned for a new one we were told that this regularly happens.

Brockley Nick said...

Anon0819:

A few points to make here:

1. It probably depends what streets you typically walk down. Streets where large houses have small or elevated front gardens often have bins parked along them permanently. There's a blind guy who walks down my street every day who has to navigate pavement strewn bins every day. When I walk my kids to school along Upper Brockley Road, bins regularly block the path. If you don't experience these issues, that's great, but please let's not pretend they don't exist.

2. This is not a petition to nag the Council to change their policies to indulge our personal bugbears, it IS council policy to introduce them where there is demonstrable demand. A petition is just a useful way to demonstrate that demand.

3. As I've said, a smaller bin isn't something I personally want, I was asked to raise the issue, so I did. I can see the rationale and the wider benefits, so I attempted to articulate them in this article.

pale derivative said...

not on the team to defend Murdoch then Nick?

never mind, bins need a champion

Brockley Nick said...

I was posting articles about bloody bins during my honeymoon - what makes you think my client work has anything to do with it?

Brockley Ben said...

Odd sight this morning of a binman - one of the advance guard who moves the bins to the pavement before the van comes round - emptying a green bin into a regular black bin on Jerningham Road. Not sure of the procedure for recycling collections but it seems at best an odd approach, not least because it resulted in at least one bottle smashing on the pavement.

Would have been an easier manoeuvre with a smaller bin though.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy with my big recycling bin. It gets pretty full most weeks.
Less happy with having 1 small 'waste' bin for 2 flats. Would have preferred to keep the big waste bin. It hasn't changed our behaviour at all, we still recycle everything we can, but often run out of waste bin space. Given how often the neighbours sneak their stuff into our waste bin, I suspect they could do with bigger bins too.

Anonymous said...

so you don't live on Upper Brockley Rd, but in theory you think we shouldn't have big bins so you can enjoy walking along it a bit more...? Er...

Brockley Nick said...

Read the article and what I said will you?

This is a voluntary scheme. If you, like me, want a big bin, you can keep it.

And I'm not advocating this, I'm posting a suggestion by a reader.

Anonymous said...

The number of bins in each front garden - let alone the street - is an eyesore.

We have four people in our household and the black bin is rarely half full. What do people throw away that requires a full size bin for a small household on a weekly basis?

Headhunter said...

All the large bins along Manor Ave were converted into recycling bins a while back (the grey lids taken off an replaced with green ones) and we received small rubbish bins instead. It certainly wasn't voluntary! I have no problem with it though, we have 3 small bins between 4 flats and seem to manage OK...

L said...

@ patrick1971 - I've asked Lewisham Council about tetra pak recycling before and apparently at the moment they don't have facilities to process them, and the ones collected from "communal" recycling points (Lewisham Tesco, New X Sainsbury's etc.) are dealt with by an external company.

Most annoyingly my downstairs neighbours put tetra pak cartons into our communal recycling bin anyway. I don't want to be the crazy bin lady who tells them not to, though...

clearourstreetsofbins said...

The best solution I have seen to binblight was in Brighton.

The Council there has taken back all of the big wheelie bins and instead has placed large industrial bins at the end of every street for communal use.

Often they use areas of land/parking spaces slightly out of site or which dont serve much purpose anyway so everyone wins.

This works really well down there and has resulted in the squillions of streetbound bins falling to almost zero.

The only problems I can think of are that those hosues closest to the new bins complain if too close. Also I cant help but think that some residents of SE4 may be slightly less likely to buy into the idea than those in Brighton, as the thoughts of having to walk the whole 10 yards to the communal bins involks instant negative reaction.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please clarify where lewisham recycling goes anyway, have a vague memory of a tv programme a few years ago - with evidence from addressed letters on the heap that it was being shipped to china and women and very small children were sorting through it.

Anonymous said...

Half of the problem with the small waste bins is that it only takes a small amount of basic gardening (eg. hedge pruning) to completely fill one. If Lewisham Council made garden waste bags available to everyone and did garden waste street collections weekly, that would sort that problem out.

Anonymous said...

They have trouble doing the ordinary bins sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for the lovely wheelie bins, green ones, black ones, big ones, small ones. For the management, the organisation, the advance guard and all the refuse collectors:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTQEKpGrXmo

Brockley Nick said...

I suppose smaller bins would make it harder for the police to fend off machete wielding maniacs.

Brockley Ben said...

@anon 13:37 They do exactly that. It'll cost you £1 a bag, though. Works for me.

(Also, they won't empty your bin if they think it has garden waste in it.)

Headhunter said...

clearourstreetsofbins - There was a debate/phone in about this on some radio station when I was last getting my hair cut. I think a few councils have gone with the large communal bin for all houses at the end of the street and not only did it seem to mildly annoy people who had to walk 50 metres down the road with a bag of rubbish but a lot of people who lived right next to where these big bins were sited phoned in.

Apparently as soon as councils put the massive communal bins in, it essentially encourages fly tipping. People turn up at all hours from all around to dump unwanted white goods etc as though the communal bins somehow designate the area a communal tip.... People were also complaining about the smell. On hot days, massive communal bins tend to give off a bit of a pong and also attract rats, foxes, flies and other vermin. Imagine living next to that!

Headhunter said...

"have a vague memory of a tv programme a few years ago - with evidence from addressed letters on the heap that it was being shipped to china and women and very small children were sorting through it."

Yes I saw that programme, I think it tracked a shipment of recyclable waste from Islington where I lived at the time and as you say, it ended up in China or Indonesia or something, being sorted by underage children working in sweatshops. They were told to pick out some of the more useful stuff and the rest was incinerated or dumped in landfill...

WasteManager said...

As Lewisham's Strategic Waste Manager I would like to respond to a few points and briefly explain why we currently do things the way we do.

Lewisham made a decision a number of years ago to reduce the size of the grey wheelie bin because much of what is thrown away can be recycled. We now provide a smaller waste bin but a larger recycling bin. As a result Lewisham’s recycling rate has increased.

If we were now to reduce the size of the recycling bins, we might experience a reduction in recycling. As it is we receive complaints that we are not doing enough to encourage residents to recycle more – especially plastics and tetrapak cartons.

One of the postings mentions the smaller bin would reduce costs for the Council but it is cheaper and kinder to the environment to recycle than to incinerate waste.

Taking the above two points into account, the Council is currently re-tendering its recycling contract, which may result in more materials being collected and people needing more space – rather than less – in their recycling bin. Further, some authorities get an income from recyclables and as such the more that gets recycled the more income that authority gets.

A final consideration regarding smaller recycling bins is that they have to be compatible with our collection vehicles. We already have two sizes of household bins and a further one, especially at odd houses dotted over Brockley, may not work with the collection vehicles.

For further information on waste management in Lewisham please check out our blog at http://recycleforlewisham.com, sign up to our twitter page at www.twitter.com/envirolewisham and see an earlier posting on BC http://brockleycentral.blogspot.com/2010/01/guest-column-lewishams-domestic-waste.html

You are more than welcome to contact us regarding particular issues, which we will endeavour to solve at recycle@lewisham.gov.uk

Sam

Anonymous said...

Top marks Sam for posting here and being so responsive! :-)

sex with bins said...

"Brockley Nick said...
I was posting articles about bloody bins during my honeymoon"



speaks volumes Nick . . .

Anonymous said...

And this morning that I find some wanker has filled my recycling bin with flattened cardboard boxes, so there's no room for my recycling anymore. Grrr. More big recycling bins please!

Jake said...

I am frequently prevented from pushing a buggy along drakefell cos of the bins left out. so, either
1 - smaller bins
2- wider pavements
3 - make dustmen put the bins back where they found them
4 - put kids up for adoption

would prefer 2, 3, 1, 4 in that order

Cluttered said...

I want my big bin back!

urbansurgery said...

oops - shows you shouldnt prompt nick on twitter and then go offline for any length of time.

I was passing onto BC that we received an email reply from LC (maybe sam, who knows) saying that smaller green bins were currently not on offer solely because there was no demand for them and that any order of a different size bin would need to number in excess of 300.

Our request was straightforward. we produce v.little waste but take out more recyclable material than fits in the standard small box. In Lewisham if you say the box is too small, the next receptacle size is the monster green wheelie bins. We asked if smaller ones were available as they had been on request when we lived in neighbouring southwark (2 smaller sizes in fact).

The answer, as I say, was that No they are not on offer as Lewisham do not stock them as there is no demand. This may well be the case, all I asked BC to garner was whether there was indeed a demand for something less than the largest green bin available.

No stress. Not a request to impose smaller bins on anyone else. Not an administrative burden one way or the other. Not an impact on the total recycling of the borough. Just an opportunity to, perhaps, reduce the amount of clutter on our pavements a little bit.

Mb said...

@urban surgery. Yep the debate has spun out of control (as per) I'm with you, I simply want a smaller green bin because I'm sick of tripping over the green skip outside my front door.

By the way, there seems to have been some bin shuffling going on. There is an unclaimed green behemoth outside my gate, it's looking lonely. Anyone missing one on Malpas Rd?

Svea said...

i would also like to add that the motto is, as always, "reduce, reuse, recycle". not, as some people seem to think "buy stuff regardless of how it's packaged then just throw it in the recycling bin and pat yourself on the shoulder".
if lewisham were to introduce tetrapak and other plastics recycling, my large bin would still not be full, while a recycling box is already insufficient now.

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