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Recycling, The March of the Wheelie Bins, Is it really only about recycling?

Updated on July 22, 2015

We know this has to stop

Landfill sites are not good for anyone
Landfill sites are not good for anyone

Background information.

Yorkshire television, and other regional commercial stations, aired a half hour program called, "What's In Your Bin?" For me this was very timely as this same day I had received our local council's free magazine, which included an update re refuse collection in our city.

I had mixed feelings about the information written but overall felt disgruntled. As someone who willingly tries to minimise waste it is not that I am against recycling. I felt so enraged that I rang the local council and vented my frustrations on the poor girl at the end of the line. As a person who often is the first point of contact at work I know how she must have felt. However I was not rude but simply wanted to express my opinion on the matter.

After I hung up the phone I read the article more fully and decided to e mail the local councillor who is responsible for recycling issues locally. As yet I have not received a reply but will update this hub as and when appropriate.

So when I saw this half hour program scheduled for this evening I thought I would tune in. The write up said:-

"To encourage households to recycle more, wheelie bins are taking over our streets and councils are increasingly monitoring what we throw out using satellite technology. Jonathan Maitland investigates whether these measures are the best solution to reduce Britain's waste mountain."

Well it would appear that I am not alone with my concerns.

The local changes

Locals will receive:-

  • A 240 litre Brown bin for garden waste and food scraps.
  • A small caddy, with compostable liners, which is designed to help move food waste from the kitchen to the brown bin.
  • For those with no garden they will receive a larger caddy instead of the above items.
  • A 240 litre blue wheelie bin for items such as paper, tins and glass.
  • Textiles still need to be bagged and left next to this bin.
  • Residents will still have their 240 litre bin for anything that cannot be recycled in any of the other bins.


Its all a load of rubbish!

You might be fined if the lid does not close properly
You might be fined if the lid does not close properly

What's In Your Bin? or WIYB

"What's In Your Bin?" showed various places up and down the country. In an attempt to reach the Government targets set for recycling it would seem that refuse collection is changing. We have already experienced some of these changes over the last few years locally but it would seem these are not enough.

At present I have:-

  • A large black wheelie bin.
  • A slightly smaller blue bin for paper.
  • A black box for cans and items such as bottles.
  • I also have two composters in my gardenbut that is by choice, although the cost of purchasing a composter is subsidised by the council.

It was interesting what WIYB showed was happening in other towns.

One council had introduced large new brown and green wheelie bins to go with the traditional black ones. In case anyone is unsure as to why, the idea is to reduce what waste goes to landfill sites, as these sites full of garbage can produce gasses which add to the problem of Global Warming. So back to the council in question on WIYB. The old black boxes have been removed and guess where the council has disposed of them. Yes, you've guessed it. IN LANDFILL SITES. The member of the public who discovered this as he was disposing of some waste, quite legitimately, was furious, to say the least. With photographic evidence the truth is there for all to see.

In one rural area the locals had grouped and decided to take action. Residents were actually marching in protest about these new bins and their blot on the landscape. I have to agree that they can look unsightly but would like to add that this is true in towns and cities also.

The cost of these recycling schemes was discussed as, in order to meet Government targets, a small fortune is being wasted all over the country. Another council had decided that the millions of pounds needed to supply all of these bins was unacceptable. They have followed a much greener road and although there recycling figures are not quite at the level of the targets they are not bad. What this council did was make an informed choice. They choose a means of waste disposal that would not damage their carbon footprint further. Unfortunately many of the country's other recycling schemes do just that.

It was funny, ludicrous and frustrating to see an older guy who had been a model citizen and followed all of the recycling advice in the past. He now had three huge different coloured wheelie bins plus a couple of boxes to use for his waste. The small amount of waste in his household could have coped with much, much smaller bins. Still perhaps, as the councils are reducing many collections to fortnightly, they will reduce further to twice a year.

WIYB showed a type of neighbourhood watch person also who noted waste problems and reported them to the council on a regular basis. Some bin collectors checked bins to see what type of waste was in each bin and rejected those that did not meet the strict criteria. With talk of fines for those who do not comply England is showing its barmy side again. Most right minded individuals have always dreaded the thought of Big Brother. Who would have thought that it would come in the form of Waste Management.

Some towns have already issued fixed fines for people who have not taken their wheelie bin in by a certain time of day and the like. As with most things the initial implementation will lead to further changes. Of course none of this will lead to a reduction in our Council Tax. This increases each year without fail. If the councils do not meet their targets this tax will increase more due to the fines they will have to pay. However, even if they meet their targets, the cost of these schemes will be so high that large increases are likely.

It looks like many refuse collectors will be going on strike soon and that will be the icing on the cake. With changes to their working contracts the whole thing is a complete mess.


All of this no doubt sounds very silly to many readers. However we British are a funny raceof people. We stand for lots of goings on but can get incensed about the strangest things. Watching WIYB tonight made me realise that I am not the only person who has a problem with much of this waste management.

Here is what I sent to my councillor:-

I read with interest and some dismay the article in September's Hull In Print regarding imminent changes to Hull's Wheelie bin system. I was so fuelled that I rang the Guildhall but probably made little sense to the person on the receiving end. I was not rude but I do not think she understood my point.

Whilst I applaud Hull's, and your attempts, at increasing the amount of waste products that are recycled I have some concerns. I will try to explain.

I live along a Road which saw many people, including myself suffering flood damage to their homes and subsequently living in a caravan for nearly a year. As Hull in Print shows increased recycling levels will help ease climate change but that is not the whole picture. Where I live has changed from a residential area to one that resembles a huge car park. With successive gardens gone to make way for car parking the neighbourhood has changed. Bear in mind that every person, I think, who lives here has a garage.

The council has readily taken the residents money to provide dropped kerbs outside of these houses which in turn has reduced the amount of parking spaces on the road. So much so that visitors to this area often need to park streets away. Of course since car parking laws changed, and now that there is nowhere to park, traffic wardens are patrolling the street and issuing tickets to those that dare block any dropped kerb, and so I guess there is money to be made. When for years I had a neighbour's huge black taxi that would park on the pavement outside of my home no-one did anything. This was despite photographic evidence and reports. Many people complained re this and other incidents as pathways were blocked.

Of course the side issue with this off road parking is that many gardens have been BLOCK PAVED. I foolishly thought that the government was trying to decrease block paving due to its damaging effects on water drainage. With many drains still only offering poor drainage of water the odds are that we will flood again. With so much loss of garden to concrete and block paving this time I have no doubt that it will be worse. I have lost my grass for convenience, due to age and health, but I have replaced it with environmentally friendly gravel and stones, and kept some plants. I would also like to say that this off road parking also positively encourages the idle use of personal transport. With a car sat waiting to be driven, slap bang outside of your front door the easy option is to drive.

I will state here and now that I do not drive and neither does my husband but that is immaterial in my argument. I have a double garage at the back of my home which I would use if necessary. (I used to cycle and these days choose public transport or walking). As it is most occupiers now leave their garages empty and choose to park on the block paved garden. Perhaps they can store all of their new bins in these garages?

Apologies for the rant but, as someone who is prepared to walk, has two garden composters that are full to bursting and protects the environment in many ways I wanted to air my views. Yes, you now also have collection centres but of course you need to jump in your vehicle to access these. So, as I said to the poor person on the receiving end of my phone call, it would seem that this council positively encourages the over use of personal transport and the damaging effects that this has on the environment. Of course she replied "Government targets" but as I work for the NHS I know all about these type of targets. I would hope though that this council was looking at the bigger picture and not simply paying lip service and meeting targets, whilst turning a blind eye to other more pressing environmental problems.

These bins will no doubt prove to be a good thing. However they will be costly and require effort on the part of the public but will not help reduce our huge council tax bills.

I hope this email speaks for itself. If the points I am trying to make are not clear please feel free to contact me. I have written a few articles on-line about this subject and related matters and feel strongly about the environment. Yes we need to halt global warming and climate change but we need to address more than just our waste management.


So even my e mail turned into a rant but having watched "What's In Your Bin" I realise that I am right to protest. Yes, we need to recycle more but this should involve education, encouraging people to stop replacing items before they need to and more.

My concerns for the environment are huge. Global warming and climate change are not good news to anyone. However councils need to get it right. Spending vast amounts of money on schemes that will fail is pointless. Whatever happened to consultation? If these recycling schemes fail it will do more damge to the environment than if such schemes had never existed.

Think about people who live in small properties with narrow passageways behind their homes. There are still plenty of people who live in such accommodation. Where will they store all of these bins and how will they get them collected?. Drag the bins through their homes?

When we were living in a caravan, because our home had been flooded, our black wheelie bin was stolen from the rear of our home, when it had been put out for collection. Due to circumstances we were a little late bringing it in and that was it. Gone. The council charged us £28 to replace this bin despite the dire straits that we were in at the time.

I sometimes wonder who owns these wheelie bin companies and if anyone has a vested interest in making sure that they are used extensively?.

An old Yorkshire saying springs to mind-WHERE THERE'S MUCK THERE'S BRASS.

Well, what about you?

Are you in favour of such recycling methods?

See results

Do you recycle waste wherever possible

See results


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    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Hi Amanda it seems that most of feel pretty much the same then in the UK. Yes we should recycle but for Godsake Councils get it right. The once pretty road where I live has recently turned into a big car park that looks now as if it will double as a garbage bin.

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 

      9 years ago from UK

      Hi Ethel. Wheelie bins! Don't get me started! I live in a very pretty Victorian terraced house which has a front garden of maybe 5' fronted by a low wall. It's not too much of a challenge to keep it looking pretty and every year we used to fill our pots and hanging baskets, and the neighbours did likewise. Then about a year ago, two things happened. Firstly we got a letter from the council saying that our pretty little street was becoming a conservation area. We were delighted, as it meant the character of the road would be preserved. Then two weeks later we had another letter from the council to say that we would shortly be receiveng two wheelie bins per house. Living in a terrace with a minimal front garden would mean sacrificing our pretty pots and replacing them with two giant ugly bins, which would also partially block our front windows. Perfect for a conservation area eh? Someone somewhere is making a packet from these bins and the specially adapted refuse vehicles that go with them. Whether they will lead to increased recycling, I'm not so sure.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks brown, waynet, Rnmsn and wes for your input. As Waynet is from the same town as me we both know about this problem first hand. I would like to say Wayne though, that although initially the new plans sound better, ie collections on the same day etc, who can say how long this will remain the case. Once the council have assessed what we are disposing of, and when, no doubt this will change.

      I must find out who owns these bin companies etc. Now that would be interesting, wouldn't it.

      Finally though, as I have said I am a recycler, so don't get me wrong. Educating people to be less wasteful in the first place would be a good idea though.

    • wesleycox profile image


      9 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      I am personally committed to recycling after I took an environmental class for the Army. I definitely think we should recycle but those bins...goodness sakes. I think we should start an incinerator movement. I think it would be much better for costs to install incinerators in the home that can burn everything. It should be hot enough but protected to avoid burning anything on any part of its surface. I still think we should continue the aluminum, steel, plastic, glass, and other metals recycling though. Everything else should be incinerated. This is a great hub and brings out a very important topic the world over.

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 

      9 years ago from Tucson, Az

      two things come to mind...this will happen in USA soon and this strict enforcement will only encourage a lot of people to litter or to take as much garbage to another dumping site under cover of darkness...especially ones in apartments/watch out that your bins will stay in place now but will be inexplicably full once a week haha/...OK 3 things ... you do reaize this has nothing to do with global warming? Good, knew you knew that its all about the bottom line...someone wised up about the off the grid people making a living from recycling other persons garbage nd the govt wants that money...god bye small entrepreneur!

    • waynet profile image

      Wayne Tully 

      9 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom

      I was never a fan of the black box recycling scheme as I felt they were too small and am glad they are coming to collect and get rid of these tiny black boxes and another thing I am glad about is these new bins will be collected on the same day although every other week for the brown and blue bins.

      ...But the expense the council likes to go to to try and get things done, sure recycling targets have to be met blahdy blah, but surely there is a cheaper's like that huge tv screen in the town centre...what's the point of that?

      I'm looking forward in one way to these new bins but on the other hand, some other people on our street will just park their bins all over the place instead of in a neat line and there'll be bins and all sorts of rubbish piled up in an effort to get rid of rubbish that could have piled up beforehand...just wait and see if it pans out and if it doesn't..I'll be sending a huge turd to councillor carl Minns!!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Well done ethel. In fourty years from now we will have a better system or a million wheelie bins everywhere regards brownlickie


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