When a means to end the scourge of bin bags being ripped open by vermin and their contents strewn across the capital's streets was needed, Dublin City Council appealed for "innovative" fixes to the problem.
A trial due to begin next month will aim to see if one proposed solution can work – a collapsible waste container called the Bagbin.
Legislation requiring the use of bins instead of bags came into force in 2016, but residents and businesses on more than 1,000 Dublin streets were given an exemption because their homes were unsuitable for wheelie bins.
Some city centre and inner city households and businesses, which had no front gardens or direct back access, argued they would have to keep bins inside or drag them through their homes from back yards and were granted a derogation.
However, the council has since been seeking to eliminate bags from the streets altogether as they cause “significant litter problems” through “mishandling or interference from vermin and animals”. It last year sought tenders for “innovative solutions to address the challenge” through a “more secure and reliable form of waste container”.
Step forward Owenbridge Ltd, which has been awarded a contract to trial its Bagbin in the city centre. Made from polypropylene plastic, the bin has a capacity of 270 litres, whereas a large wheelie bin holds 240 litres.
The council says users will “deploy the Bagbin and place their bags inside. When their waste provider collects, they collapse the Bagbin and leave it on a specially designed secure post until the retailer/householder takes their Bagbin back inside their premises”.
Owenbridge managing director John Dunne said the Bagbin formed a sturdy cylindrical shape, with a hinged lid and had no bottom when deployed. Users place it on the ground and put their bags inside. The waste collector lifts the bin off, collapses it and takes away the bags.
“It means you no longer have the eyesore of bags getting ripped apart,” Mr Dunne said, adding that it was “better for the collector too” as it spared them having to rummage through piles of bags on the footpath to find their targets.
Mr Dunne believes the product is the first of its kind internationally and that it could have “worldwide applications”. Bagbins will initially be trialled in the city centre, mainly with business customers. A smaller version will be available to householders who don’t require the capacity of the larger bin.