Saša Novak Uí Chonchúir

Green Party Councillor for Limerick City North

Candidate in Local Elections on 7th June

Bin tagging for better litter control

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This week I presented a Notice of Motion to the Climate Action, Biodiversity and Environment SPC that had been deferred from the Metro Meeting earlier in the year.

NOTICE OF MOTION: “I will move at the next meeting that the Council introduces a litter bin tagging system (QR codes) to identify each of its bins with a unique identifier number and QR code in order to map locations and maintain bin records to ensure that litter bins (including dog waste bins) are adequately serviced and maintained and that bins are located in the most appropriate locations to cater for levels of demand. This system should also allow for the public to scan the QR code and report any issues that they might encounter”.    

“The littering of our public spaces is a continuous problem. It is not an issue that bin tagging alone could fix but it would provide an improvement on the current state. The littering issue has become much more prominent during the lockdown with people spending a lot more time outdoors. While more people used the facilities, the collection frequency remained more or less the same. While the Council did its best to keep the city and county clean it was always catching up based on reports submitted through their customer service channels and based on anecdotal evidence.”

I am satisfied with the response from LCCC, who have agreed to consider QR tagging of bins, are considering solar compacting bins and are planning to pilot 10 sensors in Q3 of this year.

The response from LCC: “A review of the litter bin service for the Metropolitan area is currently being done. The Council is considering options for improved service delivery. The first option is a pilot of 10 sensors in appropriate locations, the purpose of which is to monitor and gauge the required frequency of service in particular area. The pilot will be carried out in Quarter 3 of 2020. These sensors may be extended to other areas if the pilot proves successful. The Council is also considering solar compacting bins, which aim to reduce the frequemcy of bin collection. A number of options will be considered, including a tagging system that will improve the current service by providing appropriate information that will inform the delivery of a more efficient litter bin service for the Metropolitan area. The budget applications of this will have to be considered in the formulation of future budgets.

Dublin City Council tested and implemented their bin tagging in 2017/2018. It helped with identifying and mapping their stock of bins while also allowing the public to report an issue with a bin through a simple process. It has been reported as a successful initiative.

There were two main benefits identified: reporting and asset mapping. The mapping of the stock and the reporting allows the local authority:

  1. to better manage its stock of bins,
  2. to coordinate maintenance and replacement of bins,
  3. to identify through the mapping process where the bins are not supplied in sufficient numbers, or where there is an oversupply.

Tagging bins would allow people to report overflowing bins as well as illegal dumping in real-time using their phone and thus ensure a quick and targeted response from the Council.  It will also act as a deterrent to those illegally dumping household waste near public bins as they know the Council will be supervising areas where illegal dumping is most commonly reported. The initiative has proven very successful in Dublin and I believe it should be rolled out across County Limerick.

The Council spend millions every year in cleaning litter and removing rubbish that has been dumped illegaly. It is important that we start investing into preventative measures that have proven successful elsewhere and adapt them to our local needs. I welcome the Council’s response and their proposed actions in terms of public bins, however I remain fully aware that more work is needed to combat the challenges in disposing of domestic waste.