Should we be decommissioning bin chutes?

Recent years have seen a rise in the decommissioning of old bin chutes, and in new developments architects frequently opt for external bin storage over internal stores and chutes. But why is this?

The problem with bin chutes

Bin chutes pose a number of issues. Modern lifestyles have led to the increase in the amount of household refuse, meaning bigger refuse sacks are needed. Bin chutes are often too small to cope with the refuse sacks now in common use; they frequently become blocked and rubbish accumulates as residents continue to use them. For landlords, there are health and safety risks involved in unblocking the chutes, and removal can be costly especially if this is regular occurrence.

One of most common environmental complaints regarding bin chutes is the characteristic smell of decomposing food, which can also become a health hazard for residents.

Bin chutes also pose a significant fire risk if not correctly maintained, which in itself can be quite an expensive exercise.

In blocks of flats with bin chutes, little or no recycling takes place. There is simply no incentive for residents to segregate their recycling from their everyday rubbish when it’s so easy to just throw it all down the chute. While modern bin chute systems do make it possible to recycle, retrofitting this technology to older properties is expensive and can face the same blockage problems.

Where bin chutes are incorporated into new developments, developers often find them a costly. It’s no wonder that increasingly we see architects looking alterative options for waste management, and in older developments the decommissioning of chutes is on the rise.

The benefits of bin enclosures

Bin enclosures that are sited outside the entrances of blocks of flats offer a safer and more attractive alternative to bin chutes. Choosing a convenient location will make it as easy and convenient as possible for them to use whenever they are leaving the block.

They accommodate the large bin bags with ease so there are no blockages to contend with, and being separated from the block by several metres means that the fire risks are dramatically reduced.

It is simple enough for residents to take out their separated refuse and recycling at the same time and place them through clearly-designated bin apertures, without having to lift a bin lid or enter a bin store.

Our clients find that new bins stores improve existing environments and encourage residents to recycle. They also result in substantial cost savings as the ongoing maintenance costs associated with bin chutes are removed.

It is clear that external bin stores present landlords with a great opportunity to drive real change and reduce costs within communities for a modest investment.