They have a huge capacity, they are solar powered, they could be Wi-Fi hotspots, they can tell the authorities when they are full – and they could be coming to St Andrews.
They are “big belly” bins and this week the town’s Community Council threw its support behind at least trying one out in the town centre.
The move came after the council heard from BID (Business Improvement District) St Andrews’ clean and green manager David Angus.
He’s charged with improving the look of the town, one of BID’s priorities, and speaking at the community council meeting, he told members that litter was an on-going problem in the town centre.
Surprisingly one of the problems is the plethora of public waste bins on St Andrews’ streets.
“There are 50 waste bins in Market Street alone,” David told the council, “and I’ve counted around 125 in total so far, around a quarter of which are trash themselves and need to be replaced.
“I’ve already identified eights points where big bins could be sited and they could replace an existing 33 bins.”
He said that by switching to fewer of the larger and more efficient “big belly” bins, not only would the streets be cleaner, there were potentially savings for Fife Council with fewer, smaller collections.
The new style of bin, already in place in Anstruther, looks to be of a standard size, but its ability to compact rubbish allows it to have an enormously increased capacity.
The bins are solar powered, and can transmit to a central point information on how full they are and alert collectors when they need to be emptied. That capacity means they could become Wi-Fi hot spots.
The bins are also seagull proof, preventing the problem birds from scattering rubbish.
Now Fife Council has offered the BID the opportunity to try out one of the bins, and David sought backing from the community council to go ahead with the trial. He will also be seeking the support of St Andrews Preservation Trust, who help fund the BID’s clean and green programme.
Community councillor John Jardine wondered why Fife Council had installed the bins in Anstruther while St Andrews had missed out, but answered his own question: “Because St Andrews can look after itself.”
Cost is also a factor, with the “big belly” bins costing around £4500 each, though those in Anstruther are leased.