Skip to content

Revised guidance on bins following community feedback

Date: 28 October 2022

Orkney Islands Council has issued revised guidance for householders on putting their bins out for collection.

The guidance follows feedback from the public on the challenges of placing their bins out for collection on particularly windy days.

Householders are being asked that if they live in an exposed area and feel they do need to put a stone on the bin to hold the lid in place, or to stop the bin moving in high winds, then the size of that stone should be no bigger than a house brick – and no heavier than 2kg.

This will ensure that the crews working on the pick-up routes are not continually lifting unnecessarily heavy stones – with crews picking up on average between 200 and 300 bins on each route.

The guidance has been revised with input from the crews themselves – with crews reporting that they were regularly faced with very large stones – sometimes more than one per bin.

Bungee cords will still not be allowed, with cords having caused facial injuries to the staff in the past and damage to collection vehicles where they have become entangled in the mechanisms.

Again, the crews have been consulted on this and have suggested that householders use a small piece of electrical tape to hold the lid in place whilst awaiting collection, which will break as the bin is tipped into the vehicle.

Hayley Green is the Council’s Corporate Director for Neighbourhood Services and Infrastructure.  She said: “Over the last couple of weeks there has been a lot of feedback received about how bins should be made ready for collection.

“We appreciate that feedback, have listened to it and understand that folk have concerns around securing their bins in high winds - any solution has had to be balanced up with the safety of our staff.

“We've taken the last few days to review the comments that have been made, revisited our risk assessments, discussed some ideas with our frontline staff and engaged with other local authorities on how they approach this challenge - and come up with some revised guidance.

“Whilst some householders may wish to carry on doing exactly as they were, there does need to be a bit of compromise - and I believe this new guidance meets that aim.”

If my bin is not that full, do I need to put it out for collection anyway?

No. When putting your bin out for collection, decide if it does need to go out or if it can wait until next time. Bins that only have a little bit of waste in are more likely to be blown over, so please check how full your bin is. If it can last until the next collection date, skip this one and keep your bin safely stored.  That said, if you hold onto your waste for so long that when you do present it for collection you cannot shut your bin lid, then it is overloaded and, if presented for collection, will not be taken.

Can I use bungee cords and heavier weights when it’s not collection day?

When storing your bin you’re free to tie it up and use cords and  weights as suits you, but do be mindful that a heavy weight could damage the bin.

Holding on to my recycling from one week, makes it difficult to present the recycling for the next collection – what can I do about that?

If you need additional green bins to help you manage that – so that you have one for each type of recycling – then you can request these from the Council.  You might also want to consider whether you could share recycling bins with your neighbours.

It’s a really windy day – should I be putting my bins out at all?

Lighter recycling bins or half full bins might blow over in the wind. If you can keep your bins then do so. Remember, we provide HWRCs for your convenience if you are running out of capacity at home.  Black bag waste and recycling can be taken to Hatston, Garson or Bossack whilst recycling can also be taken to Cursiter and St Margaret’s Hope.

I really have to get my bin out – it’s needing emptied and I don’t have the option of going to an HWRC.  What should I do on a windy day?

First of all if you can try to put it out alongside a shelter (for example, a fence or wall) or in a cluster with your neighbour’s bins - there is less of a risk of your bin being blown over then.

Facing the handles into the wind can also help, even if this means that they are pointing away from the road. If you’re worried that the bin lid will blow open, then we have seen some people using a small piece of electrical tape to keep the lid down. This works for us, the tape will be opened as the bin is tipped into the lorry.

If you live in a particularly exposed area and feel that you really do need to place a weight on your bin, we would ask that you think about the size and weight carefully.  Some of our crew will be moving between 200 - 300 bins on average in a round. As a guide, use a stone or weight no bigger than a traditional house brick (not a breeze block!) and no heavier than about 2kg, or 4lb.  We have a duty of care to our staff and we have also seen examples of heavy weights damaging bins.  

If you have the space you might like to build a shelter around your bins to use for presentation on your collection day. The shelter must be within 2m of the road, on land that you own, and provide unrestricted access for collection crews. On collection day the bins must not be tethered to the shelter in any way. This is because the additional time taken to deal with hooks and ropes may mean that we can’t complete the full round in a day, and some customers will not get their bins emptied. We have also had injuries caused to staff where bungees have flicked up into faces.

Can I not use a bungee cord or rope to keep my bin in place or to keep the lid down?

No, the untying of ropes, cords and bungees adds additional time to the route, which may mean that we can’t get all of the route completed.  We’ve also had staff experience facial injuries caused by bungee cords.  If you think the bin might move consider whether it’s too light and doesn’t need to go out, try some of the suggestions we’ve described about, place a reasonable weight on the top (no heavier than 2kg) or use electrical tape on the lid.  We’ve also seen examples of cords that run between the two handles of the bin and have a clip attached to them.  These are okay.

My bin hasn’t been collected?  Why not?

Crews will risk assess each collection and if the bin is unsafe to empty, they will leave it, taking photographs for the record.  We are producing new bin tags in the future which will allow the crews to identify that they haven’t lifted the bin due to heavy rocks/obstructions  - and these will be put on your bin so you can see why the crews made the decision not to collect it

Why the issue with stones – I lifted the heavier stones on to the bin just fine – why can’t the crews manage it?

Remember, you are lifting one stone – our crews could be lifting over 100 on a route.
On a windy day crews have a hard time emptying bins under normal circumstances, with bin lids blowing up and hitting them in the face, bracing the bin against the wind and attempting to stay upright whilst moving over uneven verges.  Emptying 200 – 300 bins every day is a lot of pushing and pulling, even on a calm day.

Anything that you can do to help out and minimise the risk to them is much appreciated.

What happens next?

We continue to explore options and will provide updated guidance as it becomes available. Our discussions with other Scottish local authorities have shown that there is no common solution. We will review things over the next few weeks and provide an update in a month or so with regards to how things are going.  The operatives will be providing us with feedback regarding what folk do and highlight the good examples.

  • Summary:

    Orkney Islands Council has issued revised guidance for householders on putting their bins out for collection.

  • Category:

School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535

Translate this website

Orkney Islands Council: BOREAS DOMUS MARE AMICUS