There are almost 2000 litter bins in West Lothian, yet some people still think its OK to throw their rubbish on the ground, out the car window, over a hedge or leave it perched neatly in the corner of the bus stop. All of these are littering and all can carry an on the spot fine of £80.
The council has introduced 72 SMART bins (their proper name is Solar Compactor Bins) to improve the efficiency of the service and to reduce instances of litter in public spaces.
Why are they SMART?
- The bins are SMART because they are fitted with a solar powered compactor which compresses litter. This increases the capacity of the bin and allows up to 10 times more litter to be stored compared to a standard public litter bin, before they need emptied.
- Each bin is also equipped with a sensor which provides real time updates to operatives meaning a bin is only emptied when required.
These features allow for a more efficient collection schedule which delivers financial, environmental and staff time savings for the council with operatives not having to make unnecessary journeys to empty bins that are only part full - this results in a significant cost saving.
- The increased capacity of the bins means they are available for use when required, and are much less likely to overflow. By having a closed lid, the potential of litter being accessed and spread around by animals is also significantly reduced.
- By not having to visit all bins to see if they require to be emptied, staff are able to concentrate on carrying out additional street cleansing duties which they would otherwise not have the time to carry out which in turn should bring improvements to the appearance of areas.
All in all, the SMART bin helps keep our environment tidy.
The bins also feature an automated response which is designed to encourage positive behaviour around the disposal of litter. This feature is provided with no additional cost.
All our SMART bins have been sited in locations where normal litter bins were emptied daily and on some occasions multiple times per day. On average we are only emptying these bins 3 or 4 times per week now and we no longer have any issues with overflowing bins at the locations where they have been installed.
These locations will be monitored and bins can be moved if they are not being used to the best of their capacity and another location is suitable.
The benefits to members of the public include:
- the bins are less likely to be full or overflowing when they want to use them
- the bins are enclosed and this stops litter being taken out by wildlife or blown out making areas look unsightly
- they are accessed by using a foot pedal so that people do not have to touch the bin with their hands
- during periods of high usage, such as a spells of good weather, especially in the evening when people will purchase a takeaway and then sit outside, these bins give us the additional capacity to cope with demand until staff are working the following day. Bins without a compactor can get larger pieces of rubbish such as pizza boxes placed in them which get stuck in the top of the bin making it look full, where if placed inside a compactor bin, the material will be pushed to the bottom of the bin allowing it to be used to its full capacity
An example can be seen in the Linlithgow area where 21 standard bins were replaced with 8 SMART bins around Linlithgow Loch.
At Linlithgow, not only has the overall bin capacity increased but we've reduced the number of times we have to empty the bins. Previously the bins were being emptied up to 3 times per day in the busy periods at the Loch. The introduction of the SMART bins has meant that the bins only need emptied every 2-3 days when the bins informs us that it is full via its internal sensor.
After an initial investment of £32,000 (for the 8 bins which includes the warranty, servicing and maintenance and the relevant reporting software licence) the SMART bins are set to deliver an estimated saving of £24,000 per year due to the improved efficiency of the collection schedule. The bins are designed to last for many years which will result in a significant cash saving.
Litter Bins in West Lothian are marked on this interactive map * You could use it to -
- Check out where the nearest bins in your area are.
- Check for bins in advance if you are going somewhere new, so if there's not one around you can take a rubbish bag with you and bring your litter home.
- Plan your dog walk to make sure you pass one. Remember its fine to put dog waste in a normal litter bin, it doesn't need to be a specific dog waste bin.
*Please note this map is in the process of being updated.
If you know of an area you think would benefit from a bin, you can request one by contacting customer services at Contact Us Online
Requests will be evaluated by the Street Cleansing Team to ensure that the criteria set out in the Litter Bin Plan for new litter bins is met.