Twelve solar smart bins are being installed by North Norfolk District Council in Cromer and Wells to reduce litter overspill during busy times.
The “smart” solar-powered litter bins are larger than a traditional street bin and when litter reaches a certain level inside, or at pre-programmed intervals, a hydraulic ram compacts the litter so levels do not overflow.
Restaurant businesses that create high volumes of packaging waste are contributing funds to the NNDC project, including Cromer’s No 1, and Platten’s and French’s fish and chip shops in Wells.
The new Big Belly bins can take approximately eight times as much litter as a traditional street bin and are powered by a solar panel fixed to the top of the bin, using sunlight to charge the internal battery.
The sealed bins cannot be accessed by vermin such as rats or birds, and Council Officers can monitor contents levels or check when the bins have been emptied using an online system.
“During the trial period these bins showed they could reduce litter overspill and therefore the amount of litter being blown around our streets. This then has a knock-on into saving money on the number of visits our contractors have to do to empty the bins.”
Marcus French, of French’s Fish and Chips, said: “As a take-away fish and chip shop we understand we share some responsibility for the packaging overflowing out of bins near our restaurant in Wells. We are pleased to be able to show the community we care about our town and the local environment by contributing to these new solar bins.”
Philip Platten, of Platten’s Fish and Chips, said: “We’re really pleased to be working with North Norfolk District Council to keep our community cleaner and tidier and we know residents and visitors will appreciate the results.”
North Norfolk District Council is in talks with other restaurant outlets to assess further opportunities for funding.
At a Cabinet meeting this month it was decided to start a formal procurement process for a new Waste and Related Services contract when the present contract with Kier Environmental Services ends in 2019. It is hoped this process can be done in partnership with other local authorities in Norfolk in order to improve value and quality of service. NNDC is looking to ensure that more smart technology such as the solar powered compactor bins is able, to be integrated into any new waste contract.
Cllr Annie Claussen-Reynolds, North Norfolk District Council Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “Putting smart technology to work to help protect the environment is smart in itself. During the trial period these bins showed they could reduce litter overspill and therefore the amount of litter being blown around our streets. This then has a knock-on into saving money on the number of visits our contractors have to do to empty the bins.
“It is great we are working with local restaurant businesses to finance the solar bins project as it has been a change in take-away packaging that has led to an increase in litter volume at peak times. It’s good to know these businesses are recognising their duty to their communities and environment. We hope these areas of Cromer and Wells will be noticeably cleaner and low on litter, and we hope other businesses will come forward to offer support to the project.”