UPDATE: Read the full for and against article on the Birmingham Mail website

From birminghamnewsroom.com

The following is a piece written by Cllr James McKay, outling the reasons why wheeled bins are needed in Birmingham – after the Government recently announced that the city was to receive £29million as part of a project to protect weekly waste collections

Cllr James McKayCllr James McKa

The article first appeared in the Birmingham Mail today (December 5).

We’ve got a problem with rubbish in Birmingham.  Our system doesn’t work anymore, and costs too much to run.  We need a change.

Birmingham has won cash from Government to protect weekly bin collections.  This is new money, not money we spend on vital services.

The Government cash keeps our weekly collections, and lots more too.  We need to spend £10m in our depot infrastructure.  We need new lorries.  This Government cash lets us do these things.

We’ll bring in weekly recycling in the highest demand areas of the City, as well as rolling out a recycling incentive scheme for everyone.  The more we recycle, the more we can sell on – a better deal for residents.

The big change, of course, is the wheeled bin system.

We’ll be talking to residents shortly about the best way to roll out the scheme.  The basic model is 3 bins: recycling (glass, plastics, paper), garden waste, and residual waste (previously black bag waste).  But this won’t be one size fits all.  Households come in all shapes and sizes.

We know we need to look again where there are major problems with rear access, or where the physical features of the homes make such bins impractical.  Also, assisted collections where people are unable to manage their bins will carry on.

We envisage we will start the roll out in Spring 2013, once we’ve finished the consultation.

Let’s be clear.  We cannot go on as we are.  We cannot afford it any more, not in these tough times.

The new system lets us protect weekly bin collections and drive up recycling rates, while stopping the mess and litter caused by the black bag system. We must also remember that 80 per cent of councils – including most big cities –  nationally have wheeled bin schemes that work without any problems. This is not a radical, unproven idea.

It’s a good deal for Birmingham, which is why Government has given us the cash to do it

Read full story on birminghamnewsroom.com

UPDATE: Read the full for and against article on the Birmingham Mail website


  1. I would like to know how me and the other residents of my street (and a lot of elderly) are going to pull a fully loaded wheelie bin up ten steps to our roads side. Yes ten steps our road is higher than the footpath, its hard enough carrying the bags to the roadside let alone a wheelie bin :( Maybe Cllr James McKay would like to come and have a look himself and try!

    • This is something BCC have promised to address so here’s hoping they manage to find the right solution for each household.

  2. ok there will be a consultation ,but the out come will be we will have wheelie bins..then ask yourself this how many on a crew to do the rounds answer 3 ,one driver 2 walkers ,now we have 5/6 crew so this will lead to job losses,will the wheelie bins have a chip installed in the lid ,so we will have to pay to tip ,then comes the question of security to our properties bins out all day is an open invitation to burglers and using them to get over our fences…these are my thoughts and fears…

  3. from off the bcc website……
    Cllr Jon Hunt

    Posted December 5, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    And here is the case against published also in the Evening Mail today from myself:

    There’s widespread hostility to having wheelie bins in Birmingham with good reason.

    For a start there’ll probably be a few backdoor charges. Some districts charge more than £40 to replace a vandalised wheelie-bin. And three wheelie-bins per household? That’s a lot to manage for many people.

    In my own ward of Perry Barr there’s overwhelming opposition.

    It’s no surprise. Most of the ward sits on the folds of a hillside that tumbles from Barr Beacon to the Tame River.

    Many residents access their homes by steep flights of steps or equally steep drives. And in the south we have terraced properties with front doors that open straight onto the street.

    Why can’t Birmingham manage wheelie bins when other areas seem to? We don’t have many new housing estates like Telford or Tamworth.

    More than a third of our housing dates from the pre-war years, when thousands of functional homes with quite narrow frontages were built within newly-widened city boundaries. As a city of three rivers, we are hillier than is generally appreciated.

    These are the worst possible properties to manage three wheelie bins. Even many residents with level front drives wonder where they will keep them.

    Labour claims wheelie-bins will save money. Councils with wheelie-bins save money by axing weekly collections. On their own, wheelie-bins are not cheaper.

    It’s likely that more staff will be needed, not less. In areas with these bins, collection crews often simply open them and take out binbags rather than taking time to load them onto their vehicles’ cumbersome machinery.

    Perhaps that’s a clue. We are saying the council must not impose bins on residents who cannot manage them. Nor should bins line our city’s pavements.

    By all means give bins to those residents who can manage them and want them. Or let residents store binbags in them. But this needs to be done neighbourhood by neighbourhood, to avoid a massive muddle

  4. I agree with the previous commentator. In Acocks Green also many of the houses are pre 1914 terraces with tiny front gardens and long back entries, often used for extra storage (We don’t have garages.) Getting wheelies from back to front is going to be a nightmare. In truth most will stay in front – this is known to happen in many areas with such houses. The result will be a permanent eyesore. Black bags don’t look too great I know, but they are generally not there the whole week and, where there is additional rubbish left around then we can deal with that. We won’t be able to do a damn thing about the wheelies. These is not an exciting modern solution but a dated, ill thought out wasteful, expensive and and clunky one. Forward looking areas now use separate lidded food recycling boxes, or have automatic storage systems. This so called radical ‘solution; breezes straight in from the nineteen-nineties.

    There has been plenty of rather desperate sounding whiffle about looking at the needs of individual households, but massive 50% of us in Brum live either in terraces (30%) of in flats (20% – it;s more than one size (or three big bins) doesn’t fit all. It doesn’t fit half of us.

  5. Everyone else in England uses them, almost, so why can’t we/ I am tired of the foxes and cats ripping open bags and food strewn everywhere. Why did we stop using the metal dustbins anyway……

  6. Even newer estates will have problems. Burley Way, Butter Walk and Birstall Way in West Heath were built in the 60’s, yet are pedestrian only roads. Where would these residents put their bin? The pavement on the nearest road would be blocked, and the back alleys may not be wide or level enough to take them.

  7. We have brought our own wheelie bin to store the bags in as we found that the local cats and foxes used to rip them open spreading the contents all over the garden.

  8. I would love to be able to recycle more. I am happy to have a wheelie bin if the council collect it from my passageway. Bump it down my steps next to my drive and return it where found afterwards. Somehow I doubt that will happen due to health and safety

  9. for those who wonder where this might go here is an article by FOE. http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/residual_waste.pdf
    This is a done deal BCC have accepted goverment money.Collecting bins will be slower than bags does that mean less crews per lorry but more lorries?lorry capacity must be less as there are bin hoists on board.So i cannot see where the savings are coming from. also this policy does nothing to address increasing the city re cyling rates. As for bins well bags are not an issue in my area so bins are just unecessary, awkward and ugly.

  10. Wheelie bins are more efficient, hygeinic and durable than black bags. I can’t honestly think that it must be preferable to have black bags ripped apart and rubbish strewn across the street than it is to have a wheelie bin that contains the rubbish.

    I will agree that 3 bins is excessive, maybe the council should think about recycling boxes for some of the less bulky items. And if your driveway has steps then that’s what a consultation is all about. Voice your concerns but make them reasonable and I’m sure your council will listen. Wheelie bins won’t be practical for everybody but they will adequately serve the majority

    But seriously Birmingham, move with the times and stop living in squalor.

  11. I’m sure there’s no one who can really disagree these bins are a great idea if the situation is PERFECT for both you and the bins. For myself I’d welcome the bins if I had the space for them. As is I have a tiny front space (2.5ft x 2.5ft) and a small back yard with no grass and barely space for a bin and a compost bin as it is.
    Really, where do I find the space for 3 more even taller bins?
    Choices should be offered as to containers. I’m usre most peolpe would choose bins anyway.

  12. If they think i’m dragging three bins in and out then they have another think coming. Mine will stay in exactly the same place as they leave them…i am taking no responsibility for them or any injuries etc as a result of where the council leave them.
    Three bins indeed…i take it we are out of the recession then if they can waste money on this ludicrous scheme.

  13. I recycle everything I can recycle and find the boxes provided for recyclables are not big enough, and if i bag the excess, it is not taken away. Wheelie bins would be a great alternative for me, as I have no suitable place to keep my black bags so they live on my front garden and look unsightly. They are regularly ripped open, which makes it even worse. Wheelies would provide a suitable place to put my rubbish and recycling and would be much more hygienic and look a lot better than bags and boxes of rubbish on my garden.

  14. I can’t believe the negative comments on here. I used to live in black bag brum and then moved to rugby for 6 years and now i’m back in black bag brum. Rugby council issued my wife and I with a grey general waste bin, a blue recycling bin and a green bin for food and garden waste.

    After moving back to brum I really missed the wheelie bins. 85% of our rubbish in rugby was recycled. 5% was food waste and 10% was general rubbish. It was awesome.

    Now I have two tiny boxes to put my recycling in; the plastic and glass box is collected every other week. The paper one was last collected about 10 weeks ago so I’ve got a lot of rotting paper and cardboard sat in the box.

    The black bags left on the pavement every monday morning are subsequently torn open by animals, a number of times this year they haven’t been collected on bin day and the bags just sit there on the side of the road for another week.

    I understand where people are coming from regarding the space they take up and having to lug them up stairs, I don’t know what the answer to that is, but its a good thing for all those people that aren’t challenged by space or copius numbers of steps and it will mean more rubbish is recycled and less goes into landfil, which for a city the size of brummingham is a massive boon.

  15. did my ears deceive me did sir Bore say we will have to pay for green waste removal?
    So its started already then flytipping will go up.recycling will go down and we’ll all be charged again by weight for our waste. Also collections will drop to once a fornight!! you have been warned.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.