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New solar bins in Rochdale set to reduce waste volume by 70%

12 February 2021

2 new solar-powered smart bins have been installed this week at Hollingworth Lake with the aim to reduce litter, decrease the frequency of waste collections and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The bins, aptly named Mr FILL, can be found at the visitor centre and Lake Bank run on solar energy, charging a 12v battery inside. A sensor continuously measures the fill level of waste and triggers when compaction is required. The waste inside is then squashed to around 70% less volume – allowing more room and fewer empties than standard litter bins.

An average 120 litre size bin can hold more than 600 litres of waste, with a 240 litre size bin boasting over 1,000 litres of waste once compacted.

Councillor Allen Brett at the Lake Side solar-powered bin.  

The sensor, which uses laser technology, scans the contents of the bin and sends a handy alert via reporting software when the bin is ready for emptying – it can even detect blockages or fires. Once at full capacity, the bin chute will automatically lock to stop excess litter spilling out onto the floor.

Leader of the council, Councillor Allen Brett, said: "We are delighted to be trialling these solar-powered bins that will aid in the reduction of the number of times bins need to be emptied and avoid overflowing litter - reducing the amount of rubbish that often blights our streets and beauty spots.

"Other benefits we hope to see include cost savings in the long term; a reduction in labour hours; vehicle wear and fuel consumption and fewer trips needed to the tip."

A similar scheme has been trialled across Manchester, which has saved around 14,000 bin empties per month.

Councillor Allen Brett at Hollingworth Lake.

In July 2019, Rochdale Borough Council declared a Climate Emergency and hold a responsibility to take meaningful action to reduce carbon emissions, alongside preparing the borough for the impacts of a changing climate.

Councillor Brett added: "These bins play a small part in ways the council are working towards reducing carbon footprint, CO2 emissions and a cleaner and greener environment. Every small change is another step towards the council's pledge to be carbon neutral by 2038."

The bins are on trial for the next 5 weeks and will then be moved to the Milkstone and Deeplish area for a further 5 weeks. If trials prove successful, further bins will be rolled out across the borough.