Underground bins could be the future in Birmingham

Underground bins could be the future in Birmingham

Futuristic underground bins are being considered for a new 6,000-home development in the north of Birmingham.

The state-of-the-art collection system has been mooted for the sprawling Langley development in Sutton Coldfield it has emerged, although council bosses are remaining coy on the idea.

Residents would have bins for general waste, compostable waste, recycling, paper and batteries in their homes.



Underground bins to replace wheelie bins could be the future.

How do the bins work?

When residents want to empty their bins they would take the bin or the bin liner out and place it into one of several chutes out on the pavement.

The sleek stainless steel cylinders can also be used for litter.

The chutes then feed into large underground chambers with sensors that alert the waste collection authority when they are full.

Specialist lorries, fitted with cranes, are then used to hoist the containers out of the ground and empty the rubbish.

The system is said to reap huge benefits including reducing carbon footprint, boosting recycling rates and most significantly resident satisfaction because their bins are never missed.

One operative can replace a crew of three people also resulting in significant cost savings while one chute can serve multiple homes, as opposed to three wheeled bins per household.

The system has reportedly proved successful so far in the North West Cambridge Development where it has gained a lot of national attention and scooped various sustainability accolades.



Underground bins to replace wheelie bins could be the future.
Underground bins to replace wheelie bins could be the future.

How many wheelie bins could it replace?

When completed the 3,000 homes will be served by just 451 chutes as opposed to 9,000 wheeled bins.

Cllr Mike Ward (Lib Dems, Sheldon) has suggested the system to Birmingham City Council development bosses in relation to the new estate to be delivered at Langley and welcomed the fact it is being considered.

In response Craig Rowbottom, development planning manager, said the draft plans for Langley would consider ‘the most efficient and effective way for waste to be collected, including the use of central collection points’ like the system in Cambridge adding that it would ‘support innovation’.

Whilst bins chief Cllr Majid Mahmood (Lab, Bromford and Hodge Hill), cabinet member for clean streets, waste and recycling, has not ruled out the concept.

He said: “Our priority is to provide a waste service that enables us to deliver cleaner, greener streets across Birmingham, so we will continue to explore all options to deliver the best possible service for the city and its citizens.”

The council recently launched a consultation around the 677 acre Langley development, which will be delivered alongside a large industrial scheme at Peddimore.



Underground bins to replace wheelie bins could be the future.
Underground bins to replace wheelie bins could be the future.

What are the benefits?

A Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) which establishes the ‘key development principles’ of the project makes bold claims about creating an ‘exemplar residential community’ with ‘modern infrastructure’.

Key design goals include a low carbon footprint and making a ‘positive contribution’ to managing air quality.

It states the scheme should ‘prioritise the reduction, reuse, recycling (including home composting) and then recovery of waste’.

Speaking about Langley, council leader Ian Ward has said: “Langley is an unparalleled opportunity to not only deliver new homes, but to establish a new community and set a national benchmark for development at this scale.

“It is the chance to create a new place for people delivering an exemplar residential development for future generations.”

The Langley Sutton Coldfield Consortium, which collectively owns more than 90 per cent of the site, is expected to submit a formal planning application early next year.

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