Wheelie bins have elicited a hugely positive response from the bulk of people who took part in a two-week trial run, according to an SIC survey. The council is preparing to provide the bins to anyone who wants them in Lerwick and Scalloway.
Thirty domestic and commercial premises in Lerwick’s Goodlad Crescent and Commercial Street and Scalloway’s Main Street took part in the experiment in June this year. The survey showed 85 per cent of respondents felt wheelie bins were a good idea, while 90 per cent found them easy to use and 85 per cent said they would use the bins in the future if they were made available.
The council is now to spend £125,000 on purchasing 1,200 new bins, with sizes of 120 litres, 240 litres and 360 litres being made available to householders at a one-off cost of £34.50. A new vehicle capable of handling the bins has been purchased at a cost of £125,000.
The bins will be made available to householders from February and to commercial premises, with various sizes up to 1,100 litres, from 1st April. Commercial users will pay a unit charge based on the size of the bin they choose and the council is claiming that around six in every 10 small businesses will pay less than they currently do for refuse collection.
The new essy kert will still collect rubbish from householders who choose not to buy one of the wheelie bins, contrary to fears from some that there would have to be two separate collection runs.
Wheelie bins have proved to be a contentious issue in many areas when they are first introduced, including in Edinburgh when executive director of infrastructure Gordon Greenhill brought them in. But SIC staff hope the fact that this scheme is voluntary will mean people won’t find too many causes for complaint.
Some areas, including the lanes leading off Commercial Street and other steep, exposed areas of the town, have been ruled unsuitable for the bins. Council officials are anticipating uptake of somewhere in the region of 1,000 bins, amounting to 30 per cent of the 3,000 or so householders in Lerwick and Scalloway. It is initially to be on a “first come, first served” basis and if the scheme proves a success it may require additional investment from the council in order to expand further.
Some respondents in the survey questioned the wisdom of having the bins in such an exposed, windy climate and others raised concerns about the practicability of cleaning particularly the larger bins.
Following a presentation at this week’s Lerwick Community Council from SIC cleansing service manager Jonathan Emptage, some members suggested that finding a way of bolting the bins down, or simply putting a rock in the bottom, would be enough to deal with the wind problem.
Jonathan Wills said that while one of his Lerwick South constituents was “extremely angry” about their introduction, many others seemed to be broadly in favour. Others suggested it might be possible for the SIC to cover the £34.50 unit cost because it might be a “false economy” to charge for them. While it may not seem a particularly substantial sum for many, it could be quite a lot for someone on a low income, it was noted.