New TPA Research: Shocking disparity in number of bins

February 17, 2011 6:00 AM

We've today released the first full survey of the number of bins that each council asks residents to sort their rubbish into.

The research reveals that those in Newcastle-under-Lyme have the biggest job, being asked to sort their waste into NINE separate receptacles. Some other councils collect recycling from a single bin.

Click here to read the full report


Local authorities are under increasing pressure to collect materials separately because of the EU Landfill Directive. This burden has been passed on to taxpayers, who are now required to sort a range of materials individually. Household rubbish collection is often strictly enforced by council “bin police”, who can impose fines up to £100.

This research paper is the first to provide a direct comparison between local councils and the number of bins each collects.

The key findings of this research are:

  • The council with the most bins for collection is Newcastle-under-Lyme with 9
  • The average number of bins into which residents in the UK are required to sort their waste is 4
  • 21 councils collect 7 or more bins
  • 58 councils collect 6 or more bins
  • 136 councils collect 5 or more bins, whereas 161 councils collect 3 or fewer
  • The councils that collect the fewest bins are Dumfries and Galloway and Isles of Scilly with 1. In addition, just 17 councils collect 2 bins
  • The average number of bins collected in England is 4, Scotland is 4, Wales is 5 and Northern Ireland is 3

Click here to read the full report


Chris Daniel, Policy Analyst at the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:

"Having to sort rubbish into numerous bins often frustrates taxpayers, even if they want to recycle. It's ridiculous that some councils ask for waste to be sorted into seven bins or more; this places needless pressure on households and isn’t a good way of encouraging recycling. Meddling EU rules mean that councils can't send too much to landfill, but plenty of local authorities cope with three bins, so there’s no reason others can’t too. We need to reject EU rules like this when they go too far and aren’t in the interests of ordinary families."

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