Problems with Bins

We should all try and do our best to keep our city clean and tidy. We are aware that sometimes communities have problems with bins and we have some infomation here for you about them.


Bins Left Out

Domestic residents that have individual bins are advised to put bins out for collection either first thing in the morning on collection day (before 6.30am), or as late as possible the night before collection. Residents should then bring the bins back on to their property as soon as possible after collection and store them securely.  This is considerate to your neighbours and also helps to prevent people putting their waste in your bin.

Please note that Newcastle City Council cannot carry out enforcement regarding bins being left out. This is a civil rather than a criminal matter and because of a change in the law leaving bins out in what people feel is “the wrong place” is no longer a crime.

Councils have a statutory duty to arrange for the collection of household waste in its area. This is covered by law in section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This allows the council to require a householder to put out their waste in a specific type of bin, or separate bins, the items that may or may not be put into bins and the steps to be taken by occupiers to assist the collection of waste. This means presenting them outside for collection where they can be accessed by the trucks.

In June 2015 the Deregulation Act 2015 replaced the criminal offence of failing to comply with bin requirements with a civil penalty. They are very difficult to apply. The powers given to councils regarding this are unlikely to cover such things as putting waste out in a way that it causes obstruction to neighbours, unreasonably impedes access to pavements, failure to remove them from the highway, attracts foxes, rats or other vermin, or is a perceived eyesore.

Some of the lower level offences that used to be covered by the previous law, such as failing to put out waste in a certain way, were completely removed.  The leaving out of bins is not a nuisance, as per common law, or detrimental to amenities. An empty bin poses less risk in these situations. The Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has stated that in relation to civil penalties for domestic waste offences “Those sanctions will not cover minor problems such as failing to close the bin lid properly, leaving the bin out for too long, or mistakenly putting something in the wrong bin.”


Bin Sifting

People sometimes sift through bins – breaking open locked bins and go through the waste – to look for items of value and sometimes documents that could be used for identity theft. This is called bin sifting or bin dipping. This behaviour is having a negative impact on our communities.

Bin sifting may be classed as littering, if it causes a mess, or theft. In order to take action, the event has to be witnessed and the person doing the sifting identified. For it to be classed as theft it also requires a person suffering loss.

In nearly all cases we are not able to carry out enforcement regarding bin sifting. However, the mess left afterwards can be reported for clean-up via our online forms or by reporting it to Envirocall on 0191 2787878.


Vandalism of Shared Bins

Sometimes people vandalise the shared bins that are in some back lane areas of the city. They break them open or tear off the lids. Sometimes people damage the wheels or move the bins. Our crews do make reports about these but if you do spot some vandalised shared bins you can report it via our online forms or by reporting it to Envirocall on 0191 2787878.

If you want more details about the Shared Bins please visit this page.


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Page last updated: 
24 October 2018
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