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Biffa employees collecting waste

Wheelie Bins: the history and future!

Posted in Industry news
On 11 Oct 2017
By Jas Bagri

When it’s bin collection day and you wheel your bin out to the pavement, do you ever stop and think…

How did this start and who invented it all?

Well the modern plastic wheelie bin was invented by a Slough based company on March 12th 1968.

However, the design was spotted by a sharp eyed Health and Safety Inspector, who saw the potential to reduce back injuries suffered by collection operatives when lifting the heavy metal, wheel-less design of bin which was common in Britain at the time.

It wasn’t until the late eighties that the reign of the wheelie bin truly began with the introduction of refuse collection lorries with automatic mechanisms to pick up and empty the bins. The rest is history!

What waste is most commonly thrown in our wheelie bins?

The UK produces 400 million tonnes of waste every year. Around 30 million tonnes of this come from our wheelie bins in our household waste.

Our wheelie bins typically hold 120 to 360 litres of rubbish, with 240 litres being the most common. (BBC)

Paper and card make up about a fifth of the typical household waste. About half of this consists of newspapers and magazines. (CB environmental)

At present only 70% of cans and 57% plastic bottles used each year are recycled. (Coca Cola)

There is an EU target for the UK to recycle at least 50% of household waste by 2020!

The modern day wheelie bin

Believe it or not, in today’s society residents are treating their bins with the up most care and respect! From creative bin designs to getting them washed and scrubbed clean (to find out more information on this, please visit our wheelie clean service)

Local councils now offer recycling bins also for your plastics, aerosols and foils.

A glimpse into the future …

Cambridge has been the first city to take part in a new waste collection initiative. The scheme features stainless steel chutes on the pavement that feed into huge underground chambers.

When the chambers reach maximum capacity, a sensor notifies the council which in turn triggers the dispatch of a lorry, which lifts the container out of the ground and empties the rubbish into the vehicle.



About the author

image of jas bagri

Jas Bagri

Jas is part of Biffa’s digital team, writing a diverse range of content on a number on industry topics. Jas’s favourite subject to write about is recycling, so look out for her handy tips coming your way!