Wheelie bin purchase – the facts

By on 21/01/2014 in Blog, Cllr McKay

Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City, blogs with an update on the plans to roll out wheelie bins to households across Birmingham…

Ever since we announced the plan to modernise Birmingham's refuse collection system by introducing wheelie bins, I have often been asked about where we are buying them from. Some people have even made wildly-inaccurate claims about this.

Cllr James McKay

Cllr James McKay

Now we have awarded the contracts for the various containers and pods that will be used across the city, I want to present citizens with the facts - so any myths and rumours can be dispelled for once and for all.

The bins and recycling pods used in the two pilot wards of Brandwood and Harborne were manufactured in the UK. In addition to this, the bins being offered as part of the chargeable opt-in green recycling service in 2014 will also be made here.

Recently we also made decisions on the contract awards for the bins that will be delivered city-wide to homes in the remaining 38 wards of Birmingham.

The contract for the 350,000 bins (180 litre capacity) that will be used for general household waste, currently put into black sacks, has been awarded to a company with its headquarters in Rotherham.

The contract for 380,000 bins (240 litre capacity) that will be used for recyclable waste, currently put into two small boxes, has been awarded to the same Rotherham-based company.

The contract for the 350,000 pods/caddies (55 litre capacity) that will be inserted into the recycling bins, for the collection of paper, has been awarded to a company from Hull.

Finally, the contract for the 3,000 bins (360 litre capacity) that will be offered to households of nine or more people, has been awarded to an EU company, with its production based in Germany.

In short this means of the 1,083,000 bins we have procured, 99.7 per cent will be made on these shores. There are no companies based in Birmingham that offer what we need, so we have done the next best thing with these contract awards.

When you consider that councils up and down the country are buying bins at the moment as a result of the government grants they won through the Weekly Collection Support Scheme, it is pleasing we have been able to find high-quality suppliers that have the necessary production capacity to help deliver the long-awaited and much-needed modernisation of our refuse collection service.

I know there will be some people that are still unhappy that 0.3 per cent of all Birmingham's wheelie bins are not British made, but I would ask those critics to walk along any of our residential streets and survey the vehicles parked on them.

I think it is extremely unlikely that 99.7 per cent of those vehicles will be UK made.

Hopefully this blog puts to bed the myths and rumours I referred to above.

January 22 update: We’ve received some questions on Twitter about the cost of the bins. Overall we are spending approximately £16.5million on the various contract awards. This is within the projected budget, as detailed in the full business case that went to the council’s Cabinet in September 2013.

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