Wheelie bins: All highs, no lows

Time and time again one chorus has rung out whenever wheelie bins are discussed; "they’re just too tall". It’s a fact that wheelie bins come in one height and one height only – tall. This means they stand out like a sore thumb and often obscure the windows of terraced houses with low window sills, causing out and out hatred amongst those who have to see them every time they look out of their living room window.

And the view long the road outside isn’t much better either. Here’s a photo of a road in Haringey and it has less wheelie bins than we may see in Enfield. Beautiful isn’t it – NOT!

So why are the bins so high? Fundamentally it’s because if they were smaller, they could not be wheeled easily. This defines the height of a bin and all the mechanical hardware on the trucks for emptying them is therefore designed only for bins this height. And they need to be easy to handle because is ye olde days, when I was young and bins were circular and make of galvanised steel, bin men (no refuse operatives back them 😉 typically retired early because of back problems caused by having to manhandle the bins. And early retirement because of an occupational injury means pensions being paid to men who are no longer able to work – i.e. cost.

But a problem is also an opportunity. What we need is the next Trevor Bayliss (clockwork radios) or James Dyson (vacuums, hand driers and fans) to come up with smaller bins, and a way of handling them. Perhaps something like…

– Smaller bins with "slots" underneath like pallets have

– A standard "truck" [1] which slots underneath and allows them to be wheeled away

– Refuse trucks which can handle both the shorter and standard tall bins.

[1] Some people call these trolleys. Think an "L" with wheels at the corner and you’ll realise what I mean.

The shorter bins can be full width to avoid making the volume too small and if the tall bins are made with the same slot then the truck can be used for all bins. So there is my suggestion – got a better one? There are thousands of unhappy residents ready to beat a path to your door.


About papadeltasierra

Lived and worked in Enfield for over 25 years.
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