ENVIRONMENT: Wheely bins steer towards more waste, says survey

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The Independent Online
Big wheely bins encourage people to throw away more waste and recycle less, research by the government's Environment Agency has suggested.

The agency used three consultancies and three universities to probe the garbage from 1,400 homes up and down Britain, hand-sorting their rubbish to study its detailed composition. The preliminary results were released yesterday. The researchers found that households with wheely bins produced, on average, 978kg of waste a year, while those using plastic bin bags or traditional dustbins produced 645kg.

``If you give people a big enough bin you discourage them from recycling and encourage them to put in bulky items,'' said Terry Coleman, the agency's waste strategy manager. More and more homes are being issued with the wheely bins because they make collection quicker and more convenient for the binmen - who are increasingly contract rather than council staff. Some 18 per cent of the rubbish by weight consists of packaging materials like glass, cardboard and plastic. The nation's households throw away 3.2 million tonnes of waste packaging a year.