All across the country, wherever you look there are wheelie bins. In yards, in gardens, all lined up at the top or bottom of streets and roads waiting to be emptied. Or sitting there all neglected and forlorn when their owners forget to take them home after emptying. Personally I think that since the advent of wheelie bins our streets and roads look an untidy mess, even the most pretty areas have been blighted by ugly wheelie bins. Wheelie bins are there for a purpose of course and come in different colours, that is to encourage recycling.
Apparently wheelie bins were first introduced in the Bradford area back in 1988 when the first wheelie bin trucks came into use. I got my first one delivered free from the council about 20 years later, that was a black one for general rubbish. Before that I bought my own dustbins, mixed up the different types of rubbish in black bin bags and the bins were emptied every Tuesday. The bin men collected from every house, emptied the bins and returned them to each house. The only problems that I ever had with that was when burglars placed my dustbin under my kitchen window and stood on it to climb through the window and that sometimes when it was really windy I ended up searching the streets when the dustbin or lid blew away.
All of the houses in my area got a black wheelie bin at the same time. They just turned up unexpectedly in yards and gardens with the house numbers painted in white on the hinged lids. Leaflets were popped through the letter box telling us to take the bins to the top or bottom of streets and roads before 6.00 am on collection days. That made life a little harder for householders and easier for refuse collectors.
After a while grey recycling bins turned up with the bin for cardboard and an insert for clean glass, cans and plastic bottles. The leaflet that came with that told you what was acceptable to put in the bins and fortnightly Thursday collection dates. So that was another bin to take to the bottom or top of streets making them look messy.
Wheelie Bin Strife
The first problem that I had with my wheelie bins was that because of the larger size they are more difficult to clean out than old dustbins when the bin bags have burst. It’s also difficult to reach in to remove mixed rubbish people have dumped in my recycle bin in passing.
As the pavement is uneven outside my house it’s difficult manoeuvring it out and down to the bottom of the street. Because the road is narrow most of my car owning neighbours park halfway on the pavement. Because of that I find it easier to take my bin down to the bottom during the afternoon of the day before collections when there are less cars parked up.
During the last 3 years I’ve had 4 inserts for my recycle bin. They disappear on recycle waste collection days, maybe it’s the collectors putting the inserts into the wrong bins or maybe it’s a neighbour fancying mine. At first when I was waiting for a replacement I put tins, glass and plastic milk bottles in clear bags and they were taken. Then when I was waiting for my third replacement the refuse collectors left a note saying that they wouldn’t empty my bin because the rubbish was mixed. I ended up putting the full clear bags into my normal waste bin rather than having them hanging about indefinitely. My fourth replacement is a wheelie bin with a blue lid rather than an insert, my back yard has been taken over by wheelie bins eek.
Weekly refuse collections were changed to Fridays rather than Tuesdays and sometimes I forget. One Friday I was going to visit my daughter and stay overnight. When I returned late Saturday evening I saw my new neighbour outside in her yard doing something with the top of her bin. I didn’t think anything about it until the next day when I went down to collect mine, it wasn’t there!
When I was going into a couple of days later I noticed that something was written in black felt tip pen down the side of my neighbours bin. That was when I suspected that the bin was mine because I had written my address down the side in exactly the same place and in felt tip pen. On my way home I checked the bin out and saw that a big effort had been made to scrub the white painted house number off the lid, but you could still see it faintly. Down the side my house number 17 had clearly been altered to a 19.
My neighbour was out and I had a problem in that I didn’t want to argue with any neighbours never mind a new one so I decided to be sneaky after I found out that I would have to pay £32 for a replacement. I took the wheelie bin back and hid it inside my house for a few days until I could get some stick on numbers. I rubbed out her house number and rewrote my address over where it had been and inside the lid. It went back in my yard and although I saw her looking at it nothing was said. It must seem a bit doolally tap that I would do that rather than confront her, but I was on the sick at the time for work related stress and she knew that. So confrontation would have been stressful for me.
Pavement Parking Nuisance
As I said earlier the road is narrow, so is the pavement. My vehicle owning neighbours all park down my side of the street and most of them partly on the pavement. Because of that I take my wheelie bins down in the afternoons when most of my neighbours are at work and the pavement is clear. Yesterday I struggled to get it out of my yard because the pavement is uneven and the bin was heavy. A car slowly passed me and would have seen my struggles but the driver still parked halfway on the pavement causing an obstruction. I was forced to manoeuvre my bin with difficulty down off the pavement, around her car and back up onto the pavement.
When I had deposited my bin at the bottom I walked back up and she was getting out of her car as I was passing. I then angrily said that I thought it was against the law to park on pavements obstructing safe access for wheelchairs, pushchairs and those wanting to take their wheelie bins down on the pavement instead of the road. The thoughtless woman carried on talking into her mobile rather than responding to my complaint, but I will complain to the council if it happens again.
I researched the legality and apparently the police leave it up to individual councils whether or not to allow pavement parking, if they prohibit it the nuisance parker could get a hefty fine. It isn’t illegal to park on a pavement but it is illegal to drive on one. As you need to drive onto a pavement to park there then it surely must be illegal besides causing a danger to those who are forced to go into the road to pass.
In conclusion, I am so glad that I haven’t got a fourth garden refuse wheelie bin though I wouldn’t mind the following one that would be great fun for street parties. 🙂
I Patricia Jones am the author of this article and owner of the site. I live in West Yorkshire in England and work part time in a largish store.
In my spare time I go swimming regularly, draw, make jewellery, socialise and write. Not much time left over but whatever is left is for building this blog.