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.

Additional bins

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

been distributed.

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.

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