It is almost impossible to drive around any town or city in the country these days without seeing a least one rogue wheelie bin on a pavement somewhere, that hasn’t been put away, though they have become such a part of our social landscape in recent years, that unless it is ‘bin day’ most people hardly give wheelie bins a second glance.
Love them or loathe them, most people would agree that wheelie bins are here to stay and they are, for the most part, a great help in the management of waste and recycling collections for the majority of households.
Of course, the way your rubbish and recycling is organised, depends on where you live, as Local Authorities are responsible for meeting Government targets in these areas and can decide for themselves the best way to do this. Most areas have now reduced collections to once a fortnight for general household rubbish, and once a fortnight for recyclable items, on alternate weeks throughout the year.
A number of surveys have been carried out both before the introduction of fortnightly collections and a few months later, and the results have been very positive. It seems that although many people had been against these changes, when re-questioned four or five months later, a significant number of people agreed that the changes had been for the better and that their fears about fortnightly collections were largely unfounded.
In the last seven years, around 3.5million extra wheelie bins have been delivered in England and now almost two out of three homes have them. Many households have more than one and some need to find space for three or even four. Most have one for general household rubbish, and others are for specific areas of recycling. Again, depending on the Local Authority, you may be required to separate your paper and cardboard, glass jars and bottles, tins and aluminium cans, plastics and garden waste.
Few people would disagree that there are advantages to having a wheelie bin, in preference to the old black bags that used to be piled up on our streets. In the bad old days, the night before a regular collection residents would put their black bags out onto the pavement, and often by the time the refuse lorry arrived the following morning, local cats or foxes had torn open a number of bags and their contents were to be found strewn across the pavement and road. Not only was this a familiar eyesore, but a health hazard.
Black bags were also often the source of injury to Waste Collection Operatives (formerly called dustmen), as people would dispose of broken glass and other sharp items without wrapping them properly, and these would pierce the plastic bag, and often also their protective gloves, causing nasty cuts and injuries.
So, wheelie bins might not be the prettiest of things to look at, but they are a useful way of storing rubbish and items for recycling until they can be taken away and dealt with safely and securely. The trick, really, is to find away to make them look less unsightly.