Dun Laoghaire bins worth €2.3m attract illegal dumpers

All 400 Big Belly litter bins to be retro-fitted to prevent dumping of household waste

Big Belly bin in Dalkey: they are fitted with solar-powered waste compactors which crush rubbish. Their large pull-down opening has been used by some residents to dump  household rubbish. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Big Belly bin in Dalkey: they are fitted with solar-powered waste compactors which crush rubbish. Their large pull-down opening has been used by some residents to dump household rubbish. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

More than 400 high-tech public litter bins, being installed throughout southeast Dublin at a cost of almost €2.3 million, have to be re-engineered due to illegal dumping of household waste.

The solar powered “smart bins” are being installed in towns, villages and residential areas across the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council area to replace traditional public litter bins.

The American-manufactured “Big Belly” bins are fitted with solar-powered waste compactors which crush rubbish to increase the capacity of the bin by six to eight times that of a traditional litter bin. Sensors in the bin detect when it’s full and send a message to council staff letting them know the bin needs to be emptied.

However, unlike traditional bins that have a narrow slot or hole for depositing litter, the smart bins have a large pull-down opening which, since their installation last month, has been used by some Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown residents to illegally dump their household rubbish.

Larger than normal

Almost 250 of the bins have so far been installed, with the remainder to be in place by the middle of next month. To counteract the illegal dumping problem special brackets are being retro-fitted to the bins to make the opening smaller. To date 100 bins have had the bracket fitted, the spokesman said.

“The bracket is being installed to restrict opportunities for dumping domestic waste in the bins. I don’t think it would be correct to say there has been widespread problems with this but there certainly has been instances of it.”

All the new bins will be fitted with the “revised opening” within weeks, he said, and the work is being carried out by the supplier as part of the installation contract at no additional cost to the council.

The 401 bins cost €2,274,101.07, which includes maintenance costs and the software licence for a five-year period.

“This cost will be offset by savings in the service over the coming years as the new bins will ensure a reduction in operating costs through a 75 per cent reduction in the number of litter bins emptied per day,” the spokesman said.