The incredible shrinking bins save council cash

rubbish bins

Lambeth council has hit on a novel new way to cut the cost of sending rubbish to landfill sites: it has decided to halve the size of its bins, so that people simply can't throw as much stuff away.

So what will it save the council, and what will it cost residents?

Saving money

The move came as a result of a report by the council. The Brixton blog reported the findings: that residents put 9,500 tonnes of rubbish into bins which can be recycled instead; and that something needed to be done to stop this.

The council calculated that it would cost £950,000 to replace the bins with smaller ones, but it would save £415,000 a year in disposal costs, so would be saving money by the third year.

A report in the Daily Telegraph said that Lambeth will start giving the bins to residents in Brixton, south London. The current 240 litre bins are being replaced with 140 litre bins. For those living in houses which have been converted into flats the bigger bins will remain - but some will be removed, which will force them to cut down on the rubbish they throw out too.

It will also introduce food bins, which will be emptied weekly.

What will it cost residents?

If people need to throw out more, they will not be able to leave rubbish alongside the bin, they may have to pay to dispose of it. The council charges £20 each time you use the service for up to four separate items or four bags, and an additional £5 for each extra item collected. So families with a lot to throw away could end up paying a small fortune in charges.

Outside London, most people would simply collect a boot-full of rubbish, and take these items to the local recycling centre every couple of months.

However, in London those centres are few and far between, and fewer people own the cars they need to transport the rubbish. It's hard to know how residents are expected to take three buses and walk half a mile with an old mattress and a couple of bin bags tucked under their arm.

But what do you think? Is this the boost locals need in order to cut down on waste, or is it the council looking to save money - leaving residents to foot the bill for refuse removal? Let us know in the comments.
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