How many waste bins, bags and boxes are too many for one household? Three, four… how about nine? One council has confused its residents with nine bins in an effort to make recycling easier.
How many bins does your council give you to separate your waste? I know of two from my east London council – one bin for everyday refuse and a plastic bag for recycling. Easy.
Maybe that’s not enough – having one bag for glass, paper and all my other recycling is probably a nightmare for my council’s sorting facilities. But it’s a darn sight easier than having to separate my litter into nine.
Bins, bins and more bins
Yes, Newcastle-Under-Lyme’s council has hit its residents with nine rubbish bins – more than any other council uses in this country.
What goes in them? There are separate containers for refuse, glass and cans, garden waste, cardboard, paper, textiles and plastic bottles. Then there are two extra boxes for food waste – one to go in your kitchen and another for kerbside collection.
That’s just a bit OTT, to say the least. The council hopes that its new system will boost its recycling rates, but at the moment its new bin-heavy tactic seems to be bamboozling residents.
How many bins do you use?
The stat comes by the way of a list compiled by the TaxPayer’s Alliance. I’ve tracked down my council and I’m surprised to find that my council actually offers five bins, not two.
There’s a bin for garden waste and apparently two for food waste. Both are news to me. Then again, my flatmates didn’t even know that we could recycle at all – that’s how rubbish our council’s communication is.
In fact, the average number of bins provided by councils in the UK is four. Twenty-one councils collect seven or more bins (including Aberdeenshire, Middlesbrough and Warwick) in contrast to 161 councils that use three or fewer.
Recycling with more or fewer bins?
Is burdening residents with lots of bins the right way to grow recycling? Sylvia Butler, who has to live with Newcastle-Under-Lyme’s nine bins, told BBC Radio 5 Live that the collection needs to be simplified:
‘We just want a more streamlined system. For people like me who live in a terraced house, or people in flats, it is a nightmare knowing where to keep all these containers.’
However, the council’s head of recycling, Trevor Nicoll, defends the system, saying that not only has it saved money but that the borough’s recycling rate has gone up. He also contended that, if they don’t want to, households don’t need to use all nine bins:
‘There’s no compulsory requirement for people to use the system – basically, people can be flexible to use the container they need for the service they want.’
How many rubbish bins are too many? Do you think recycling is boosted by less bins, or is it better for waste to be separated at its source?