Bin Collection Trial – Survey Results

This survey was conducted between the 1st of March and 30th of June 2016.  I’ve been chasing the results occasionally ever since, and today I got a reply to a freedom of information request with the full document (which I’ve put online and linked to below if you want to read it through).

Thought I’d write this quick overview in my lunchbreak, while I come to terms with the sad truth that I’ve become a middle aged man who moans about bin collection.  I’ll update it if I get any more info. (asked for the full list of comments rather than the edited selection used in the report).

A wee issue with the language used – in the report, folk are asked if their bins are full or overfilled when it’s collection day.
The report seems to insinuate that only overfilled is bad, but in reality, you can’t overfill a wheely bin, because the lid doesn’t shut and the collection guys won’t take it away.

It quite clearly says on the council’s bin policy page here “We cannot collect any waste that is not contained inside your bin with the bin lid closed because items can fall from overflowing bins while being lifted, which can be hazardous and leaving loose waste on the street may be treated as fly-tipping, which is an offence.”

So if you’re not going to overfill your bin because they won’t take the thing away, and you want the council to know that it’s always full when collection day comes round, you’re going to say it’s full when it’s collected.

The report seems to imply that that’s a sign of perfect timing on the council’s part – bins getting picked up just minutes after the last bit of rubbish neatly fills them up like the last piece in bin tetris – but it’s not, and what it’s saying really is that well over 50% of people’s blue bins are totally full by the time pick up day arrives, and that most of those respondents are having to take the additional waste to the recycling centre because the bin collections aren’t regular enough.

A substantial increase in the annual number of Recycling Centre visits was recorded in both trial areas, particularly for trial 2. We can see there was a 64% increase in trial 1 and a 133% increase in trial 2. We do not have baseline information for the materials taken to Recycling Centres before the bin trials but it is likely that this is in part due to householders disposing of landfill waste.

Collection Trial Survey 2017

Trial 1

Blue Bin Every 3 Weeks

Bin full or overfilled by collection day

Trial 2

Blue Bin Every 4 Weeks

Bin full or overfilled by collection day

“Of those with full/overfull blue bins, 52% on trial 1 and 62% on trial 2 said that they take extra blue bin waste to a Recycling Centre and 25% on trial 1 and 23% on trial 2 kept waste until the next collection.”

You can view the whole report over here.

It pisses me off quite a bit this – I live in the test areas and I have to make weekly trips to the recycling centre, despite properly separating everything out into recycling bins.  So does pretty much everyone with a family that I speak to about it.

At least I have a car to do the trip in, but the mess, hygiene and health issues that are going to happen if this is presented as a success and rolled out even further are clear as daylight.

I initially thought that it’s probably mainly families that make up the majority of people who have run out of space in the landfill, but then I read this quote and it killed that theory:

“In my opinion this trial would have been successful if the blue bin was the same size as the rest or you swap the blue bin with the green bin -I never thought that at 71 years old with Arthitis I would have to take bags of landfill waste to the tip ! This is a backward step in my opinion ! ”

Let’s hope the council can see past the spin in the report before they make a daft decision and leave us all in the sh*t.

Here are some of the “Selected representative negative comments on the bin trials”:

  • Felt totally lost due to this trial. Now I have to visit Glenrothes to get rid of my waste. Literally the worst thing the council has ever done.


  • i recycle everything i possibly can and still have a full blue bin. i worry it will become a problem in the summer with heat attracting flies/maggots which happens anyway never mind bins being emptied less frequently.


  • I live in a property with a communal area for bins. I am extremely careful re what goes in bins but other bin sharers are not so careful and leave bags of rubbish on the ground when the bins are full, and this happens all the time. Absolutely fed up taking my rubbish to a recycling centre and don’t feel it is environmentally friendly for me to drive to Glenrothes with a couple of bags of rubbish. Totally unhappy with frequency of collection for blue bins and the size of the bin us not helpful.


  • Struggles with landfill bin


  • In my opinion this trial would have been successful if the blue bin was the same size as the rest or you swap the blue bin with the green bin -I never thought that at 71 years old with Arthitis I would have to take bags of landfill waste to the tip ! This is a backward step in my opinion !


  • Despite our best efforts to recycle all our waste where possible our blue bin is always overfilled on the collection date. The current 4 week collection duration is too prolonged and I have to take excess landfill waste to the recycling centre on a fortnightly to monthly basis. Being forced to carry excess landfill waste in the family car is unacceptable.


  • The four weekly blue bin emptying does not cut down on my landfill. It just costs more in fuel and time to take to Cable Road


  • Broadly in favour of the collection service being trialled, but would suggest that households be offered larger landfill bins. Current bin size capacity is inadeqate for a household of two when collections take place every four weeks; expect that families find it even more of a struggle. Would hate to see fly-tipping increase if the new system is rolled out without increasing size of landfill bins. (Perhaps grey bins could be designated for landfill waste and blue bins for paper recycling, as before’)


  • Sometimes difficult with nappies as we have a two year old.


  • I have Grandchildren who stay regularly and I am struggling with the blue bin.

Reminder: You can view the whole report over here.



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