Croydon Council is trialling super-capacity town centre bins that are powered by sunlight and even tell you when they are full.
From this month the council is trialling eight Bigbelly street bins in George Street that can take up to eight times the capacity of standard street bins.
The extra capacity comes from a solar-powered compactor inside each bin that automatically presses the waste. This also means council contractors need to empty them less often and can use the time to do more litter picking and street-sweeping.
The bins have been placed between East Croydon station and the junction with Wellesley Road for four weeks, and the trial will continue when the council introduces the bins to Croydon High Street for a similar period early in the New Year.
If successful, the council will consider widening the scheme to other locations around the borough where bins need emptying the most – from district centres to outside train stations.
The solar-powered bins, which are already used in places including Nottingham, Bournemouth and Kingston, can last a month on eight hours’ sunlight and even send an email alert when they need emptying thanks to an inbuilt sensor. This sensor also gathers data that allows staff to plan where new bins may be needed based on which are the most-used and least-used.
The Bigbelly bin initiative, introduced as part of the council’s Don’t Mess With Croydon – Take Pride campaign, comes as the council also prepares to expand its scheme to stop business waste left on pavements from encouraging fly-tippers.
Known as time-banded waste collection, the scheme has already led to over 70 tonnes less rubbish being dumped outside shopfronts along London Road from West Croydon to Norbury since it began in July. It works by restricting the time of day that businesses can leave their commercial rubbish out for private waste collectors, and it expands to Portland Road in South Norwood on 1 December.
“It’s everyone’s responsibility to stop leaving rubbish on Croydon’s streets, and we’re trialling these smarter bins and widening our successful scheme to tackle shopfront fly-tipping to help more people do the right thing.
“These bigger solar-powered bins also allow our council contractors to do even more litter-picking and street-sweeping in the places needing it most, and I look forward to seeing the trial results in January.”
Councillor Stuart Collins, deputy leader – Clean Green Croydon
The Don’t Mess With Croydon – Take Pride campaign combines getting local people to become community champions with enforcement against the worst offences. As well as prosecuting over 120 people in court since launching the initiative in summer 2014, the council has also signed up more than 300 community champions who lead litter picks.