Market Boost for green waste containers
The demand for containers for green waste collection has seen a surge this summer Otto reports. A pilot scheme which has been introduced in Kent shows how advance preparation can help achieve successful participation from residents
Otto, one of Europe’s largest bin manufacturers, reports a surge in the sales
of containers which are to be used specifically for green waste. Having seen
a number of implementations, Neil Robson, Otto’s Logistic Manager, has been
especially impressed by the work of Swale BC, Sittingbourne, Kent.
“Particularly impressive has been the way in which Swale has used its
existing resources to do this by a meticulously thought out pre-implementation
strategy – it has not taken on additional staff but focused its energies really
Swale initiated its pilot scheme – involving 1,400 properties – at the beginning
of July. Early results are now being analysed and the trend is encouraging.
The 1,400 properties purposely included a broad mix of people and properties
and included schools and community centres to act as focal points.
The Swale scheme, under the guidance of Pooja Punshi and Peter Chegwidden, has
provided each of the 1,400 properties with two additional bins manufactured
by Otto UK. These consist of a brown-coloured 240 litre wheeled bin, for the
collection of kitchen and garden waste (organic/compostable) and a small 10
litre kitchen sort bin (the Kitchen Kaddy). The Kitchen Kaddy facilitates the
transfer of organic waste from the kitchen to the main organic waste bin. It
has a carrying handle, a lid to prevent odours in the kitchen and comes with
biodegradable bins liners to ensure cleanliness.
Having first undertaken a comprehensive survey of current disposal habits –
a questionnaire with a door-to-door follow-up of those which had not replied
– the pilot scheme was formulated.
Prior to the distribution of the new bins, Swale BC undertook a major awareness
campaign with lively and readable leaflets being distributed to the properties
earmarked for the scheme. These leaflets said what was happening, why it was
happening and gave details on the mechanics of the collection scheme. In addition
to this, roadshows and demonstrations took place showing the new bins and the
correct allocation of various types of waste and alerting the public to recycling
opportunities. These included public “Bin Sorts” – a practical demonstration
of allocating waste to bins and how to achieve better waste minimisation. This
involves council officers rummaging through bins demonstrating the correct allocation
of waste, the crushing of bottles and cans, techniques to reduce smells from
the bins and countless other small but important details.
According to Pooja Punshi these Bin Sorts – still available free for individual
households – have been instrumental in communicating with householders about
the correct allocation of recyclables and about volume minimisation to ensure
optimum usage of the new system. Swale has also set-up Helplines for any specific
queries that may occur and to offer general help and advice.
Additional leaflets, listing the allocation of typical waste for the new Organics
Bin under a Yes Please / No Thanks heading have also been distributed, allowing
the properties to have an “aide memoire” close to hand at all times
reminding them of what should, and should not, be placed in the organic waste
The bin manufacturer, Otto, also worked closely in conjunction with Swale on
the roadshows, providing staff and simple leaflets on How to Get The Best From
The Bin with cleaning and maintenance hints. Otto also provided the Roadshow
The collection in the pilot scheme is alternate weekly, one week Organic, the
next General Household; calendars with the dates of these collections have also
Initially, the contents of all brown Organic bins are being monitored. “Contaminated”
Brown bins (very few and declining) are not sent for sorting and composting
and the relevant households will be advised on better practice. However, Swale
BC is very pro-active and General Waste bins are also randomly checked and again
properties which dispose of organic waste in the General Waste bin will be advised
that they could do better. Checks are also made to ensure no bins are missed,
an event which could dishearten willing participants.
Newsletters are also being distributed to the 1,400 properties with news of
the schemes progress and extra information – often relevant to the season ie
currently information is on garden waste.
The results from the first six weeks (three cycles) are encouraging (see table
1). Prior to the organic collection scheme, some 50 tonnes of ordinary domestic
waste were collected each fortnight from these 1,400 properties between January
2001 and June 2001.
Boost for composting
Greater awareness of the waste problem coupled with a genuine opportunity for
easy disposal has instantly and dramatically increased the level of waste going
towards compost. It also reveals just how much domestic waste is compostable
– surely an incentive to all councils.
Swale has run a Paper and Card recycling collection for some time but these
figures show the increase in tonnage collected since the start of the scheme,
indicating that showing the philosophy of waste segregation can have beneficial
effects that go wider than the specific items targeted.
Crucial to the success of the scheme has been the way that Swale ensured that
the scheme was well publicised and that sufficient information about the philosophy
and the mechanics of the scheme had been giving to participating households
prior to the schemes commencement. Besides being a well thought-out scheme the
enthusiasm and organisation (rather than just the resourcing) of the implementation
team has been, for the most part, reflected by the enthusiasm demonstrated by
the response from the majority of the 1,400 properties.