Dundee council set to shell out on solar-powered ‘smart bins’ costing £3,500 each

Overflowing Eurobins in Lochee
Overflowing Eurobins in Lochee

Dundee City Council has revealed it will soon take delivery of a set of “smart bins” in a bid to cut its litter collections down to size.

The local authority has put a contract out to tender for 16 of the containers, at a cost of £55,000.

The bins cost about £3,500 each to produce, compared with a typical cost of £400 for a normal bin.

However, the bins come equipped with solar-powered compacting capabilities, which can crush the contents.

It means the smart bins can hold up to seven or eight times as much rubbish as the average waste container.

On top of that, they are internet connected and can alert council workers remotely when they are ready to be emptied.

That cuts down on the number of refuse collections having to be carried out, meaning staff can be better deployed elsewhere, and the council’s carbon footprint is reduced.

A smart bin in Kirkcaldy.

Smart bins have been successfully used elsewhere in the UK, including in cities such as Nottingham, Rugby and Chester, and some boroughs of London. Some have been installed in Fife.

Locations and an estimated installation date haven’t yet been finalised by council environment bosses.

However, they won’t be the first to arrive in the city.

The University of Dundee first deployed 10 of the solar-powered receptacles back in 2012.

Those bins were paid for by a litter prevention innovation fund launched by Zero Waste Scotland.

Council staff visited the university campus to see how the smart bins had performed as part of their own research.

Trudy Cunningham, the university’s environment and sustainability officer, said the bins had several advantages over regular containers.

She said: “An added bonus is that they are also gull proof, which prevents a lot of food waste being strewn around campus.”

Dundee City Council’s Smart Waste Project is being funded by a £250,000 budget that runs until 2019, of which the council is providing £100,000.

It forms part of the ongoing partnership Dundee has with the Scottish Cities Alliance, which secured a £10 million European regional development fund grant to make Scotland’s cities into “smart cities”.