Liverpool City Council in the UK has outlined plans to install underground smart ‘super bins’ in 140 high-density locations to reduce the issue of ripped black bin bags spilling rubbish out on to streets.
The proposed £1.5 million (US$1.8 million) retrofit scheme has been designed to create a cleaner waste solution for 27,000 terraced households in hundreds of Liverpool’s inner-city streets which do not have the space for wheelie bins.
Underground bins are increasingly common across European cities including Amsterdam but there are few implementations in the UK. An underground waste system was installed at the new district of Eddington in Cambridge, removing the need for any wheelie bins.
The recommendation to begin consultations on introducing underground bins in several wards of Liverpool will go to the council’s Cabinet later this week and the first phase could begin by the end of summer.
A city-wide inspection by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy found that Liverpool has a litter problem that is three times the national average.
Councillor Abdul Qadir, Liverpool’s Cabinet member for Neighbourhoods, said: “Due to Liverpool having so many terraced streets, particularly to the north and east of the city centre, we’ve left thousands of families with the limited option of putting black bin bags on the street or in community bins which are easily accessed.
“This has been a recipe for a litter festival at times which in turn has placed extra pressure on council resources, which is a really inefficient way to handle this.
“Officers have been tasked to think more creatively to design a solution that gets round the limitations of these terraced streets and these underground smart bins are a great step forward.
“They brilliantly demonstrate how Liverpool can lead the rest of the county in the fight against litter and we already have other councils with similar communities looking to visit us to learn from our programme.”
The bins are made of steel or reinforced plastic to reduce odours and will issue an alert when they’re full. The largest bins can hold 5,000 litres of waste, the equivalent to a week’s worth of refuse for 20 houses.
The city council, which spends £9.5 million a year on waste collection and recycling, says the new approach will radically reduce the “perennial problem” of ripped bin bags which creates hundreds of complaints a week and requires extra clean-up resources to be deployed.
It also says the super-bin scheme will save the council time and resources by drastically cutting related issues such as rats, flies and smell associated with black bag waste disposal.
Joanne Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, said: “I want Liverpool to be a zero-waste city and to achieve that we need to be smarter in how we enable people to dispose of what they generate in their homes.
“These subterranean super-bins are going to make a huge difference to the quality of life for thousands of families across huge swathes of our inner-city neighbourhoods.
“We need to consult with communities on the locations but when installed these bins will have both an immediate and dramatic impact on the cleanliness of our streets and will save the council a huge amount of time and money for many years to come. They are an environmental and economic win-win.”
The council also recently launched a year-long education, engagement and enforcement partnership with Keep Britain Tidy to help clean up the city.
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