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Brainy big belly bins set for York

City of York Council

12:01am 25th February 2012

City of York Council is trialling a new bin in the city centre, which has proven to be more efficient than a traditional bin by holding up to eight times more waste.

The new trial of the Big Belly Bin started in Kings Square in August last year and was one of the de-cluttering and improvement ideas taken from the council's Litter Bin Review and Reinvigorate York scheme. Since the start of the trial figures indicate that if the council was to roll these bins out city wide there could be massive efficiency changes in how litter bins could be managed in the city centre.

On average the bin in Kings Square is now emptied only 14 times every week, which has dramatically changed how the council manages litter bins in that area. Compared to when there were five traditional bins in the square, they were being emptied 105 times every week during the peak tourist season.

The reason why the Big Belly Bin is able to hold more waste is because it's a compacter bin run by solar power. This enables the mechanisms in the bin to acknowledge when it is getting full and automatically triggers a plunge that compacts waste to make room for even more rubbish.

The bin is operated via a traffic light system, which tells the waste team when the bin needs to be emptied. When the light is flashing red it means the bin is 85 per cent full.

When the light is red, without flashing, it means it's completely full.

There is also potential for waste services to be automatically alerted to how full bins are remotely without having to visit them on location.

Cllr Dafydd Williams, Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods Services, said:

"These bins hold eight times more waste than traditional bins, plus they're less time consuming, far more efficient and much cleaner. For these reasons, we really need to consider rolling these out city wide and hope to discuss this further in the spring."

Sir Ron Cooke, chair of Reinvigorate York, said:

"The quality of York's inner city public realm is fundamental to sustaining the city's present and future prosperity, and it is important to most people who live, work, visit and invest here. But the public realm is looking tired and shabby in places, needs urgent attention. Thus, for example, many of the existing waste bins are damaged and broken, some are not needed, and others need to be restored and decorated.

"The Big Belly Bin will help both de-cluttering and the more efficient removal of waste in the city centre. The design group will need to decide where best to place them. The bin will not replace all of the 140 bins in the city centre : there will still be a need for some smaller ones, and the best design for them is being considered at the moment."

The Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods Services will discuss and decide whether to take this forward at a decision session this spring. The bin is also going to be trailed in some of the outer areas of the city over the next few weeks.

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