Bin and gone (again)

I’m sure that you’ve read stories in the newspaper and you’ve thought “surely that can’t be true – did I misread that ?”.

Well, such a story has come to light and it involves the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea deciding to remove all the litter bins from residential areas because they “attract more rubbish”. From now on, litter bins will be available only in busy areas such as shopping and tourist streets. Well, you may reasonably ask, what are litter bins for if not to attract rubbish ?

In deciding to remove litter bins from residential areas, the Council said that businesses were dumping large quantities of waste in the bins and officers reported only a slight increase in littering when bins were removed from Earl’s Court. It is, apparently, the first London council to adopt such a strategy.

A spokesman from Kensington and Chelsea council commented that the bins had been attracting commercial and domestic waste – which clearly should not be placed in bins intended to be used by passers-by. There was also the point made that Kensington and Chelsea’s bins have been on the street for over 15 years and that they are expensive to repair or replace………

So – what do you think about that ? There is an important issue behind this seemingly ludicrous story in that, if businesses and householders did deposit their waste in public litter bins, chaos would result and the council would simply not be able to cope – and the amount of litter dropped on the streets would clearly increase as the bins would be constantly full. But isn’t the answer to police the issue and stop local businesses and householders using public litter bins ?

There were a couple of wry comments made on this story on the Daily Mail’s website which I thought summed up people’s likely reaction to this issue. First : “Please close down Kensington and Chelsea hospital – it attracts too many sick people” and, even more flippantly, “Why not take the Council away and see if that improves things ?”.

Experience elsewhere is interesting. In the summer of 2011 Canterbury City Council removed 50 litter bins during the “civil unrest” and refrained from reinstating them for a while. During that time, the street cleansing contractor reported that the city centre was cleaner than it had been for some time. In the end, the Council replaced only half of the bins that had been removed and placed them near known litter hot-spots and fast food outlets.

And, quite coincidentally, it was in another cathedral city, York, that the number of litter bins was reduced last summer. This was a similar story to Kensington and Chelsea in that the Council claimed that many of the 350 bins were under-used and were being used for commercial or household waste. Even a petition signed by 1,530 residents was unable to sway the Council’s decision.

So is the removal of litter bins from our streets a growing trend and what effect will it really have ? Please let us know if this has happened near you and what the result has been.

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