Increasing recycling from HMOs and flats above shops

metroSTOR co-founder and National Account Director, Nigel Deacon has been developing innovative external containment solutions for waste and recycling within communal and streetscene environments since 2013. Below he shares his insights on increasing the capture of recycling from flats.

“Many Councils say that collecting refuse from HMOs and flats above shops is hard enough, let alone getting people to segregate their recycling, due to the shortage and sometimes complete absence of storage space for bins, caddies and boxes outside the dwellings.

Many HMOs occur without going through a licence application process to ensure that adequate off-street refuse storage can be provided, and this problem is only likely to worsen with the consistency of collection obligations being proposed as part of the Environment Bill.

Councils that have a high proportion of such properties are trying a range of solutions to overcome this, daily timed bag collections can be quite effective but inevitably a few bags get put out too early or too late and then get torn open by animals and the contents scattered across the street.

Most Councils have policies in place to eliminate uncontained waste on the street, and even to minimise the presence of containers if at all possible. There’s also a preference in streetscene terms to minimise street clutter, such as unnecessary signage, barriers and furniture.”

Grit bin 1
Grit bins are sometimes deployed to contain waste but can face issues with capacity

“But some form of containment is essential, and even placing grit bins on the pavement to contain the bags can work, however some residents complain about the appearance of these, and achieving sufficient capacity without impinging upon residential or retail amenities can be difficult.

I recommend creating communal waste and recycling hubs with as much capacity as possible wherever space does permit, such as wider pavement areas in side roads or even taking parking bays in some instances, even if it means that residents have to walk further in order to use them.”

Waste containers can make a positive contribution to the streetscene.

“Keeping the height down below 1m will help maintain neighbourhood safety by avoiding the creation of hiding-places, as well as ensuring that highway sight-lines are not obstructed, and some form of access-control is likely to be required to stop them just being used as litter bins.

And while they are essentially functional pieces of infrastructure and at times not the most pleasant-smelling, that does not mean that they can’t make a positive contribution to the streetscene. I’ve seen great examples with greenroof and planter boxes next to them to discourage fly-tipping.

So let’s embrace the challenge, and keep working on creative solutions that will lead to safer neighbourhoods and a cleaner world!”

Read more about our range of recycling bin storage