metroSTOR 5C is our unique end-to-end approach for the delivery of successful waste and recycling infrastructure. Consulting in detail on how each proposal measures against the five key elements of capacity, convenience, communication, consistency and cleanliness, metroSTOR 5C brings confidence to the decision making process, ensuring that both quantitative and qualitative target improvements can be achieved.
Is there sufficient storage space for refuse, recycling and bulk waste between collections?
The first non-negotiable is to provide sufficient containerised storage capacity for refuse and the appropriate recycling streams for all intended producers, relative to the frequency of collections. BS5906 gives a total weekly capacity requirement for various building uses which gives a good guide but consultation with the local waste team is recommended to check for local variations, particularly on recycling split and bin sizes used. Consideration should also be given to secure storage of the increasing number of bulky items such as furniture and appliances awaiting collection so that these don’t attract further fly-tipping and elevate the fire risk, as well as deposit points for textiles, waste electrical items and batteries, depending on the size of the catchment.
Can we co-locate refuse and recycling deposit points so they are accessible and easy for everyone to use?
The second is to make sure that every user understands which materials should go in each bin, regardless of their mother tongue, and where they may need to take any non-compliant materials. We find it hard to process complex instructions, especially when we’re tired or hungry, so simple unambiguous graphics with colours and symbols that people instantly recognise are much more effective. For clarity, these can be supported by a series of ticks and crosses next to images of the items that people are often unsure about, such as tetra-packs, flexible plastics and nappies, for example. Having signage at eye-level and visible from varying angles of approach will also help guide users quickly to the right container.
Is there clear consistent guidance on accepted waste and recycling and what to do with non-compliant materials?
It is often said in behaviour change forums that knowledge on its own is not enough, so both the refuse and the recycling containers must be co-located in positions that are accessible for every user, which in residential situations is generally defined as within 30m of each flat and they are best on well-used routes rather than being tucked away out of sight so that they are convenient for residents to use whenever they leave their home. Also crucial is that the facility is easy for everyone to use, regardless of age, height or ability, without getting their hands dirty. This will typically mean designing enclosures in such a way that they eliminate the need for users to unlock and open doors and lift lids wherever possible. Making it easy for residents to recycle, even if they live in a flat, will reduce pressure on refuse capacity and in turn reduce the likelihood of having overflowing bins and missed collections.
Will the waste and recycling containers be secured at a safe distance from dwellings and within accepted waste crew pulling distances?
Refuse, and particularly recyclables such as plastics and cardboard, are highly combustible and vulnerable to both accidental ignition and deliberate arson attacks. Fire Risk Assessors consistently recommend securing containers 6m away from building openings to prevent fire spread, and if there is not space to do this then a structure with minimum 30min fire resistance should be used. If you want bin crews to take containers from the store and put them back, you’ll need to comply with their maximum pulling distance requirements, which are usually 25m form the road for wheelie bins and 10m from a dropped kerb for 4-wheel containers with no steps or steep slopes, as well as giving them keys or codes for any locked doors and gates.
Does the design significantly reduce user-contact, spillages, recycling contamination and vermin activity?
Designing enclosures so that they can be easily cleaned and with hands-free lid operation to reduce user-contact is important, as are features to prevent spillage and consequent vermin activity and the contamination of recycling with refuse bags. An enclosed bin housing will limit wind-blown litter and opportunities for fly-tipping, but any facility will require a cleaning and maintenance programme to minimise environmental health hazards and establish and maintain positive norms and expectations in terms of respect and care by all users, and any non-compliance should be removed quickly and offenders fined using the appropriate mechanisms.