Fleet of hi-tech ‘talking’ bins hits Leeds city centre

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A high-tech mini-army of ‘talking’ bins - which could slash street refuse collection rates - has hit Leeds city centre.

The Yorkshire Evening Post revealed last year that council bosses had signed off funding for the fleet of 17 ‘smart’ solar-powered digital bins, which compact litter down and even send out a warning signal when they need emptying.

And now the local authority has confirmed the Big Belly bins have finally arrived.

As well as the Briggate, already home to three of the futuristic waste vessels, another nine are now placed at key locations in the city centre including around the train station and near Leeds first direct arena.

The remaining bins are being placed in other locations across Leeds.

By compacting rubbish, the bins can hold eight times as much waste as normal litter bins.

They can also let staff know how full they are, sending an alert when they need emptied.

Leeds city council spends millions each year keeping Leeds’ streets, roads and parks clear - and it is hoped the new style bins will eventually help save millions.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for environmental protection and community safety, said: “We need to be sure that we have the right kit that’s going to help us offer the most effective street cleaning service.

“Now that we own a number of Big Belly bins we can really get to grips with how these could fit into our operations in different circumstances.

“Our teams do a sterling job and we’ve got many active community groups, schools and organisations that are keen to make Leeds cleaner and greener. It would be interesting to see how much cleaner Leeds would be if everyone picked up and disposed of one piece of litter every day.”

Meanwhile the council is promoting the #1PieceofRubbish campaign, which encourages people to pick up and bin one piece of litter a day.

Various teams and individuals across the council are joining in and encouraging residents to do the same. Follow @Clean_Leeds for updates.

There are 440 litter bins in the city centre alone that are emptied on average twice a day.

During a test in 2012, the city centre cleaning team kept all the waste they collected from bins and manual and mechanical picking in a 24 hour period. To show how much they collected they piled the waste – between five and six tonnes – on Briggate.