Westminster locks out metal theft with Taylor-made bin device

Westminster City Council will be rolling out a new waste bin container-locking device across the borough this summer following successful security trials earlier this year.

The patented bin container locking device from Taylor, Slam-Lock, has been developed in conjunction with the council and waste contractor Veolia Environmental Services

It is designed to deter metal theft in the borough and will support the council in its waste reduction efforts.

“We have got 160 bring sites across the city for local engagement on top of the doorstep collection service we provide and we were using standard brass padlocks,” Westminster Council’s waste & recycling manager Philip Robson told edie. “We found that we might be losing 70-80 padlocks overnight through metal theft.”

Padlock theft on existing bins across the borough has been driven by the rising market value of brass. Veolia, which provides a daily waste management collection service on Westminster’s behalf, estimates that the criminal activity is costing it £500 a week in replacement locks.

The missing padlocks on Westminster’s 1,100 litre and 1,280 litre containers have also led to an increase in cross contamination with residents depositing waste indiscriminately over the top of the containers instead of using the correct aperture for each waste stream.

The fall out has had a knock-on effect across the entire waste chain; recyclable materials have been rejected as a result of contamination, which has prevented the council from meeting its waste reduction targets and also generated additional landfill costs.

“Such a large proportion of our waste goes into Euro-bins,” said Robson. “We don’t have 240-litre wheelie bins; there is nowhere for them to go. It’s either in a bag or it’s in a Euro-bin, so the locking is important. Making sure it works and reduces contamination is a big issue now and going forward.”

To resolve the problem, Veolia approached Taylor with a brief to produce a bin-locking device that automatically locks on closing, eliminating the need for any additional external locking system.

The Slam-Lock system was successfully trialled around Warwick Avenue tube station earlier this year and Westminster plans to roll it out borough-wide this summer.

Robson added: “The trial was a success and as a result we are planning to install the new locking system to 2,500 bins in the coming months.”

A focus on Westminster City Council’s street scene will be featured in LAWR’s July issue.

Nick Warburton

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