What to Do If My Bin is Lost or Stolen? 

stolen or missing wheelie bin

You might not pay too much attention to your humble wheelie bin. It does its job, day in, day out. Until one day, it’s not there.

It gets put back in the wrong place by the council and someone else claims it. It gets stolen by vandals or someone who wants to sell it on.

Either way, it’s an inconvenience. So what do you do about a lost bin?

Lost Bin Checklist

Steps Description Done
1. Confirm it's lost Check if the bin is actually lost or stolen. Ensure it hasn't been taken by a neighbour or blown away by the wind.
2. Report to the police If it's your personal property and stolen, report to the police using the 101 non-emergency number or their website.
3. Contact the local council If the bin belongs to the council, contact them. You might need to pay for a replacement unless they damaged it.
4. Consider a Replacement If all else fails and you're in need of a new bin, you might want to browse new wheelie bins.

First things first

It may sound obvious, but before you do anything, you need to check whether your bin is actually lost or stolen. Make sure the neighbour a few doors down hasn’t accidentally taken it in or the wonderful British weather hasn’t blown it down your street.

Report your lost bin

If the bin is your own personal property and you think that it’s been stolen, you should report it to the police. Obviously, use the 101 non-emergency number or go on the website and report the theft. You should get a crime number. While the police are too busy to look for every lost bin, the theft might indicate a wider problem in your area.

If the bin belongs to your local council, you’ll need to contact them. Depending on where you are, you may have to pay for a replacement wheelie. However, if your bin has disappeared and it emerges that the council has damaged it during collection, you shouldn’t have to pay.

Stop your bin from going missing again

It can be a huge inconvenience to have your bin lost or stolen. But there are some ways you can stop it from happening again.

  • Firstly, don’t put your bin out too early for collection. Seeing your bin out on the street all night might prove too tempting for vandals. Similarly, try to bring it back onto your property as soon as possible after its collection. If you’re not going to be at home, ask a trusted neighbour to take your bin in for you.
  • Secondly, label your bin clearly with at least your house number. This will reduce the chance of a lost bin, as will customising your bin with stickers or similar. Your average bin thief isn’t likely to steal a wheelie full of identifiable brightly coloured stickers!
  • Another thing you can do to avoid a stolen or lost bin situation is to keep it out of sight on your property. A fenced-off back garden with a locked gate is ideal.
  • Other things you can do to keep your bin secure include investing in wheelie bin storage or a bin lock.

How to Secure Your Wheelie Bin

Taking all these precautions may seem a little preposterous, but they are sensible to ensure your safety and to avoid being fined for acts you didn't commit.

Theft Prevention Checklist

Steps Description Done
1. Timely placement Don't put your bin out too early for collection and bring it back as soon as possible after collection.
2. Label your bin Clearly label your bin with your house number and customise it with stickers to make it identifiable.
3. Keep it out of sight Store your bin in a fenced-off back garden with a locked gate or invest in wheelie bin storage or a bin lock.


How to Stop Your Wheelie Bin From Being Stolen

Theft is a big problem when it comes to wheelie bins believe it or not. This may be in the form of stealing items out of the bin or stealing the bin itself. There are many reasons why people do this. Stealing items or the bins means that they could keep the items for themselves or try to resell them. This makes the theft of the items and the bins very valuable. They may also want to get their hands on sensitive information like your bank account details. Although harder nowadays it is still possible for someone with the right information to impersonate you and withdraw money from your account. Too many of us assume that once we throw something away that is the end of it. Any sensitive information should always be shredded. Bank statements, old cards, cheque books, credit agreements etc.

It's very easy to protect your bins from theft. The easiest solution would be to keep your bins somewhere safe. Don't leave them out in the open where they can get stolen. Instead, keep them hidden or locked away. The chances of someone looking for your hidden bin are extremely low. While this may seem like a simple enough solution, there is one problem. You have to put your bin out once a week for your rubbish to be collected!

Since you can't keep it locked up, you may have to try to find another solution on how to protect your things. Luckily, there are many devices you can buy to help keep the bins secure. A popular device that is used now is a lock. You can put this lock on your bin and unlock it in the morning before your rubbish is collected.

Additionally, you could wait until the morning to put your bin out, but many people don't have time to do that in the morning. If you can't hide your bins on days where you aren't putting them out, putting a lock on your bin will help secure your items. While some people might just look at it as garbage, it's a good idea to keep prying eyes out of your waste. You could be throwing away personal information that someone could steal.

How to Avoid Your Bin Being Vandalized

Vandalized Wheelie Bin

Similarly to theft, your bins can also be vandalized. A common game with kids today is to set bins on fire. This is becoming quite the problem, and it is only getting worse. You have to make sure to protect yourself from this happening. If someone happens to set your bin on fire, you can be fined. Additionally, make sure that your bins are never placed too near your house. If your bin is set on fire, your house could catch on fire and that could lead to devastating results.

A fire in your bin will also damage your bin. You would be responsible for it and have to pay to replace it. The solution to this is as simple as the solution to the theft.

All you simply need is a lock that will lock your lid shut. This will keep delinquents out of your bin and keeps them away from your property. The appeal wears off if they can't access your bin. If you lock your bins and hide them, you will sleep much better at night.

How to Stop Other People Putting Items in Your Wheelie Bin

Even though it's rare, you can face another problem with unlocked bins. Other people may dispose of their waste in your bins which could lead to you getting fined. By leaving your bin unlocked, neighbours or strangers can empty whatever they want into your bins. You may not even know that it happened. However, you could be fined for having too much waste.
This is something to remember to pay attention to when you receive your monthly bill for your service. Locking up your bin will stop others from disposing of their rubbish in your bins and it makes them be responsible for their own things.

Wrap Up & Conclusion

We hope we’ve shed some light on what to do about a lost bin.

For more articles on all things waste and wheelie bins, check out the rest of our blog or check out some of our most popular articles:

- Commercial Wheelie Bin Size Guide

- A Guide to Wheelie Bin Weight

Or check out our most popular wheelie bin sizes and colours

- 240 Litre Wheelie Bins

- 770 Litre Wheelie Bins

- Green Wheelie Bins

- Brown Wheelie Bins