If wheelie bins could talk...
The life of a wheelie bin is a tough one. We overload them, we don’t always keep them as clean as we probably should and they have to withstand the temperamental British weather. Add to that the fact that this time of year brings its own challenges and you can see that our bins have a lot to cope with. But if we want them to do their job as well as they can, there are a few basics we need to know. If your wheelie bin could talk, what would it tell you?
‘I don’t like being left in the street’
During october and november, with the dark nights and bonfire night, there is often a rise in the number of wheelie bins stolen. Leaving me in the street makes me an easy target for vandals and thieves, who might want to use me as a transporter for bonfire materials or set me on fire.
What you can do
- Don’t leave me out in the street, especially overnight. Put me out at the last minute to be emptied.
- As soon as I’ve been emptied, bring me in. And be a good neighbour and bring theirs in too!
- Mark me with your house number so people know where I belong.
‘I am happiest when I’m clean’
There’s nothing worse than walking out of your home and being met by the unmistakable stench of a filthy bin. It not only smells unpleasant; it can attract pests and vermin. Keep me looking good and smelling fresh by giving me a good clean at least a few times per year.
What you can do
- Leave my lid off for a few hours now and again. This releases the trapped air that might be helping bacteria to grow. Bacteria are what causes the ‘bin smell’. Check the weather forecast before you do this though as I don’t want to end up full of rainwater!
- You can have me professionally cleaned.
- You can buy a special wheelie bin cleaning spray if you would rather do the job yourself. This gets rid of insects and banishes odours.
- If you would rather not use chemicals, there are more natural ways of keeping me fresh. Baking soda and chopped up lemons can keep me clean and smelling fresh.
- Store me in a well-ventilated area, ideally not in direct heat or sunlight. Germs thrive in the heat.
- Double-bag any leftover food that will decay and make me a playground for vermin and insects.
‘There are some things I just can’t handle’
I can’t be used for chemicals, solvents or paints. They can cause me harm and can harm whoever handles me, never mind the environment.
What you can do
- Contact your local council to find out what arrangements they have in place for disposal of hazardous waste.
‘If I’m broken I can’t do my job!’
Wheelie bins put up with a lot. We overload them with our waste, drag them up and down kerbs and expose them to battering winds and rain. So, you shouldn’t be surprised if one day your bin says I’ve had enough and ends up being damaged. When bins get damaged, the usual suspects are the wheels and the lids. The wheels are subjected to the weight of the rubbish we load the bins with and they are constantly bumped up and down kerbs. The lids take a constant beating from the wind, especially if the bin is too full and they can’t be closed properly.
What can you do:
- Can you repair me or replace a part? Your local council might be able to repair or replace me, or replace one of my broken parts. My lid can usually be repaired if the hinge is not broken. My wheels can often be repaired or replaced. If I have had fire damage or I have suffered considerable damage however, I can’t be repaired, I need to be replaced because I won’t be able to do my job.
- Fit my lid with a lock to minimise wind damage. Fit a wheelie bin lid lock or house them in a wheelie bin shelter to reduce the risk of damage caused by heavy wind.
- Don’t over fill me.
- Wheel me down a ramp instead of a kerb where possible to protect my wheels.
So, there are steps you can take to keep your bin safe, clean and secure. Your bin and the environment will thank you!
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