Sunday, 8 November 2009

The wheels on the bin don't go round and round

When is a wheelie bin not a wheelie bin?

Orkney Islands Council's development and environment services department obviously had a lot of our cash to spare so they've given everyone on the island a big green wheelie bin.

With the bin came a set of instructions, telling us in seven fairly detailed steps how to secure it. Obviously, given that it's November and it gets a little breezy here at this time of year, it would be madness to leave a plastic bin just hanging around.

So everyone, old folks included I assume, has been given a wooden fence post and a length of blue rope and told to hammer the post into the ground to a depth of 2ft. No small task for a pig "farmer" who happens to be the owner of a large sledge hammer - can't imagine what a peedie Westray wifey will do.

The bin is then lashed to the post using a clove hitch (don't ask me) - no doubt while whistling a sea shanty. A bungee cord to prevent the lid heading off towards Norway is the finishing touch.

Which brings me to the big question. What the bloody hell are the wheels for?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the whole point of a wheelie bin is that it's mobile. You can wheel it around the place - the clue's in the name.

When we lived in England we had a wheelie bin. We kept it by the back door and wheeled out to the front of the house on bin day. The bin men hooked it onto the back of the cart, the rubbish was tipped in, the bin parked outside the house to be returned round the back.

Up to now in Westray, we have been given a year's supply of black bags, leaving the filled bags at the end of the lane to be collected and thrown onto the back of Geordie's wheezing wreck of a lorry.

The new system involves leaving the bags at the end of the lane where they'll be collected and thrown onto the back of Geordie's wheezing wreck of a lorry, although we now have the choice of leaving the bags in the bin if that's where we've left it.

I much prefer living in Orkney to England and I firmly believe Scotland is a far superior country (only one Tory MP for a start), but I have to admit that England is way ahead when it comes to the 'understanding what a wheelie bin does' department.

What the council seems to have done is (out of the goodness of our own council tax payments) handed out a few hundred bins - the type we used to go to the hardware shop and buy ourselves - with no discernable improvement in the service.

On the upside, the Westray wheelie bin racing season gets underway next week. Entries to the usual address.


Jimmy Bastard said...

It just goes to show, the idiots who twiddle pencils on every counci,l have relatives in the most unlikely of places.

KAZ said...

I'm not so sure Malc - there's such a thing as going overboard.
Our footpaths are literally covered with multi coloured wheelie bins and plastic recycling boxes.

Amy said...

tut tut malc!!!

A very one sided argument I think!!

You failed to mention that the council have done this because the refuse collection service is changing. They will only collect rubbish fortnightly now and the wheelie bins are an attempt to improve hygeine and sanitation. Who wants two week old bin bags smelling out the barn??

On the other weeks the council will be collecting the recycling and I'm sure I don't need to go into the benefits of that with you :D

Also I'm sure that, being a man of much intelligence, you will be more than capable of working out how to unhook the bin from its post, wheel it down the drive, and then return it later. Imagine the rants you would have had had they not provided stumps to attach it to??

"grrrr,grr,grr, the bins will blow away, bloody stupid council" etc ;D x x

Sian said...

Good grief Malc - I too am incredulous!! The clue is in the name "wheelie bin" - and on the isles and in other rural areas there aren't smooth pavements or driveways to push the thing up and down and often the end of the drive where you have to leave your rubbish is almost half a mile away. And apart from having to secure the bins, it's difficult for a peedie wife to pull the bin bag OUT of the bottom of the bin if it's still a requirement that they are to be left at the end of the drive (you will understand I speak from experience...)! Completely bonkers and makes me very cross when other things can't be provided due to "lack of funds". I join you in ranting!!

Betty said...

What Kaz said. I'm also fed up of the stinky bins caused by the fortnightly collection, and the fact that we still haven't got a compost bin despite two years of requests to the council.

Just thought I'd put that out there.

elizabethm said...

When I lived in Manchester the lads from our local school had a period of taking wheelie bins from outside houses in order to give each other lifts (in cleanish ones) or forced lifts (in smelly ones)!

Malc said...


Relatives in Orkney Council? I doubt it. Unless they've learned the funny handshakes.


Footpaths? We don't have such a thing. The only way a wheelie bin is going to be useful here is if I fix some off-road tyres.
Hang on, there's a thought.


Of course it's one-sided! What do you expect? You should know me well enough by now.

I'm all for the recycling bit and welcome the coloured bag system - fair play to the council for that. The fact is that if you recycle properly, there should be no smell from your black bag. There should be hardly anything in your black bag and therefore no need for a huge £59 (I looked it up) bin. The leaflet from the council specifies that only black bags are to be kept in the bin.

When I was a kid we had a bin (no wheels) which we bought ourselves from the hardware shop. I suggest anyone worried about smells does the same.




Is that you? Don't you look like Barbara Castle?


I'm already pimping my bin with wide tyres and a spoiler.

I, Like The View said...

Malc, I've given you an award. . . please pop over (at your convenience) (no red carpet or ceremony, I'm afraid) to collect it


(such a beautiful header, I've probably already said that but I wanted to say it again)

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Scotland is a far superior country? Utter balderdash and tripe! Scotland is merely a clinging dependent that we have tiresomely had to prop up over countless years, rather like looking after a reclacitrant child that is ironically ungrateful for the kindness it has received. What I say is fill those wheelie bins with kilts, sporrans, bagpipes and all the other nineteenth century affectations adopted by Caledonia. England forever....especially Yorkshire!

Malc said...


Bless you, babe. You're too kind.


When England has foisted another Tory government on us and we're all squeaking under the cutbacks and the ten-year-recession, when Cameron's plan for charities to take over from benefits (!), when the Thatcherite plan is fulfilled. . .

I'm no fan of Alec Salmond, but I'll be voting SNP - anything to get away from a country rapidly sinking into a far-right nightmare. Germany in the 30s springs to mind.