Recycling Made Easy In Ljubljana. A Lesson for UK Councils
Taking a walk around Merton most days, especially on bin day, you see rubbish everywhere. Rubbish left behind, rubbish not collected and rubbish strewn from bags broken open by the hordes of neighbourhood urban foxes. A lot of it is preventable by sensible management of rubbish, for example do not leave rubbish bas out overnight, but some is not preventable.
Recycling and bin collection for the last centre a weekly thing, now is becoming fortnightly or potentially not at all. Rubbish also need not be rubbish. The Welsh Council in Brycir area near Caernavon do not permit rubbish, all waste gets recycled under some guise, providing around 4-6 different coloured wheelie bins.
Ljubljana is the capital city in Slovenia and a beautiful city and country.
Slovenia however is not associated with being the paradigm shift in recycling and rubbish collection. Anyone walking through the city would see any number of beautiful sights and monuments. The graffiti art is unique. What might look almost irrelevant are a number of bins in a line fixed to the street. These are the recycling bins and rubbish bins divided up in a normal manner. What is clever is that these are not small bins that get full in hours or days, but in fact they lead to underground “bins” which are then emptied or collected by large recycling vehicles. The rubbish is thus neither in sight nor in smell. This is a wonderfully simple concept and surely replicable. No need for rubbish bags lining streets , minimising the amount of rubbish decorating pavements and front gardens. Some initial cost surely , but why should not UK councils also consider this clever option. So how does it work?
Underground collection units are used in the centre of Ljubljana to replace common waste bins and thus unburden public areas and make the city look nicer. Glass, packaging and paper can be deposited in underground collection units by anybody, while you need the relevant card to deposit biological waste.The first underground collection units were installed in 2008 and there are currently 41 of such collection units in Ljubljana (3 not yet activated). The aim is to ensure that the maximum distance of any user from the unit is 150 metres. They are simple to use.
- Place the card on the scanner next to the collection unit lid.
- Once the scanner recognises the card, the lid of the underground collection unit automatically opens.
- Drop the garbage bag into the opening and manually close the lid.
- If you have several garbage bags, repeat the procedure. The maximum allowed volume of a bag is 40 litres.