Friday, 11 September 2009, 8:00PM – 8:30PM
Wheelie bins are now a common sight on the streets of Britain as councils attempt to make households recycle more and send less waste to landfill.
In Ruchcliffe, Nottingham, every household has three — one for compost, one for land fill and one for dry recyclables. And if you put the wrong stuff in the wrong bin then you can get blacklisted.
The bin men all carry electronic devices that allow them to send messages back to council HQ about the state of residents’ bins. The council can then decide to not collect the bin until it’s sorted properly or can visit to give a lesson in recycling.
The local council say this system is necessary to encourage people to recycle and keep landfill charges down and prevent council tax from going up.
But many residents in neighbourhoods across the UK are up in arms about the new wheelie bin invaders.
In conservation areas like Henley, residents like John Sturgeon are upset that the picturesque streets are now blighted by unsightly wheelie bins sitting in people’s front gardens.
He only generates 40 litres of rubbish a week, yet he has five bins, a total of around 750 litres of bin space. He says he does not know where to store all these bins and thinks it’s an unnecessary expense. Like many of his fellow Henley residents, he also has old recycle bins which he now does not know what to do with.
Members of the town have now formed their own pressure group to come up with other solutions to encourage recycling and will take their wheelie bins to the streets in September to protest the current system.
In this programme, Jonathan Maitland investigates residents’ concerns and looks at whether any of the new initiatives are working despite the controversy.
And he looks at whether charging people for the waste they throw away – and idea that was met by widespread derision from Britons several years ago – is actually the reason that other European countries like Germany, Belgium, Italy and France have the best rate of recyclers.