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Avoiding rubbish design: providing for bin storage on new housing developments (NF60)


So-called ‘bin blight’ is a result of the growth of household waste recycling in recent decades. The appearance of housing developments can be spoiled if inadequate provision is not made for the storage of the additional wheelie bins and containers now needed. This report illustrates various solutions to the storage problem, along with examples of good practice.

Summary of content

Given the detailed attention that is paid to the design of new houses, it can sometimes seem as if insufficient attention is given to how bins for domestic waste and recycling are accommodated on housing developments.  With the continuing expansion of recycling and growth in the number of bins required the issue of ‘bin blight’ was commented on by the Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in 2013:

“In streets up and down the country, ugly bin clutter has ruined the street scene and the look of people’s homes and gardens.”
The Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, August 2013

Evidence suggests that finding a suitable space for domestic waste and recycling storage is a common problem for many households. Whereas there may be limited opportunity for addressing this issue for existing houses, in the case of new build there is scope to design to accommodate bin storage and collection from the outset. Successful design brings benefits both in terms of reducing visual impacts but also of improving convenience for the people living in new homes.

This project began with a survey of local authorities in England carried out in the summer of 2014 to explore the provisions for waste and recycling that local authorities are asking for.  It identified widely-varying requirements for waste and recycling storage, which increases the challenge for designers.  The second phase of the project involved a review of housing developments across England, using examples of good design, where adequate storage had been integrated unobtrusively.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it became clear that certain types of housing present a greater challenge for designers.  Accommodating bin storage in terraced houses stands out as an example that requires particular thought and attention.  This guide seeks to provide a series of best practice examples which can be applied when designing residential layouts. The examples are by no means exhaustive and can be adapted to suit the site-specific requirements.  A number of ‘Golden Rules’ provide a series of prompts for designers to consider.