Waste Munching Smart Bins Outwits Eager Seabirds

Bigbelly Beats Back Waste Scavenging Seagulls in Hartlepool

Hartlepool has reduced the number of seagulls scavenging waste, as well as the number of bin collections conducted, following a four week trial of 15 Bigbelly smart stations.


Hartlepool, a seaside town in the northeast of England, has reduced the number of seagulls scavenging waste, as well as the number of bin collections conducted, following a four week trial of 15 Bigbelly smart stations.

The Borough Council said is has redefined the term ‘seagull management’ with the deployment of the smart stations across its popular Seaton Carew seafront area – a decision that during the trial period reduced unnecessary bin emptying by 87%.

Following a four week trial, which saw 13 traditional bins replaced with five Bigbelly units, the council reduced the amount of scavenging carried out by the seafront’s seagull population and also achieved a reduction in the number of collections required from the area.

Until Bigbelly’s installation, hopeful seagulls would linger around exposed seafront bins waiting for passers-by to discard their fish and chip wrappers. Now, the seagulls have learned that the Bigbelly bins no longer represents a source of food and its aperture, which automatically closes once waste has been deposited, has reinforced this by immediately sealing waste within the unit.

“We wanted to find a solution that would allow us to lock out the birds and support the council in its objectives to deploy frontline resources as efficiently as possible. With the enclosed compacting bins,” explained Tony Hanson, Hartlepool Borough Council’s Assistant Director, Environment and Neighbourhood Services.

“There’s no more mess as a result of birds throwing litter around as they can’t access the waste, and our collection teams are only emptying when the units remotely feedback they are reaching capacity,” he added.

Bigbelly has advanced the Council’s waste collection strategy by providing full visibility of each unit’s fill level status remotely via Bigbelly’s CLEAN Management Console, which displays how much waste is sitting in each unit at any given time through sensor and compaction technology.

“Through the trial this technology has clearly demonstrated its potential to support service enhancements in the future,” said Hanson. “It reduces the likelihood of street litter coming from bins and helps support necessary efficiency improvements so that frontline resources can be better targeted where our communities require them.”

The system is also said to enable council operatives to set the capacity level at which each Bigbelly unit sends an alert to collection teams requesting empties.

During the busy Easter weekend the council set each unit’s fill level capacity to 60%. This provided longer lead times for collection operatives to get to the units after receiving an alert in order to empty them before they became too full.

Similarly, the waste collection team has increased capacity to 80% and more during periods of bad weather when footfall and waste levels are low. This has extended the periods between collections and reduced the amount of time wasted emptying bins that did not require emptying.

“Hartlepool Borough Council highlights the multifaceted, and sometimes nuanced, benefits associated with Bigbelly,” commented Steven Parker, Area Sales Manager for Egbert Taylor, the company responsible for Bigbelly in the UK. “However, perhaps the most important aspect is that its collection crew, which has reduced in size over recent years as a result of budget cuts, can be more responsive and make the council’s resource go further.”

“Through Bigbelly the council is achieving huge efficiency gains and we are delighted to have helped them in this process,” he concluded.

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