Wheelie bins, eh? Where would we be without them? We’d be in a bit of a mess, that’s for sure. Wheelie bins are the silent saviour of our countryside, the one thing that stops our roadways being strewn with rubbish. Because a wheelie bin has just one job to do, and it’s an important one. A wheelie bin simply needs to hold our rubbish until collection day. That’s it. That’s all. But if these wonderful wheelie bins weren’t around, those bags would be left by the side of the road. They would be at the mercy of the element, wild creatures, vandals (which do sometimes amount to the same thing), and our streets would be covered in food packaging, old paper towels, food waste, and much more.

So yes, wheelie bins are important, and they work fairly simply. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t questions to be answered about them. So take a look at these FAQs and find yourself the perfect wheelie bin.

What Sizes Do Wheelie Bins Come In?
Wheelie bin sizes in the UK are varied. Which is not so helpful when you are trying to decide which size to have. However, the best size for you will depend on a few factors, and once you understand those, you’ll know which bin to buy.

Our bins range from 120 litres up to a whopping 1100 litres, and somewhere in that range will be the bin for you. The standard UK council size tends to be 240 litres (we do, of course recommend that you check with your local refuse department – they can sometimes request that you use 120 litre bins. Some will allow you up to 360 litres), and this size of bin works well for most people. When full they are still manageable – you can still take them out to the road – and there should be plenty of room for all your weekly or fortnightly waste.

What Size Wheelie Bin Do I Need?
Once you know the sizes that your council will happily collect and empty, it’s time to work out which one to get. Space is a major factor in working out what size in to buy; if you’ve got room for a larger bin, it’s wise to get one.

Likewise, you’ll need to consider whether you can easily move the bin to and from the road. A bigger bin that’s full might be a struggle for some, including the elderly and those with a disability. In that case you might be better off buying two smaller bins.

And of course, you’ll need to work out how much rubbish you create between collections. Ideally, you want a bin that will hold all of your rubbish without you needing to place extra bags out alongside it – these bags are unsightly and they’re tempting (to animals and vandals). It’s best to try to keep everything in a wheelie bin.

As mentioned earlier, 1100 litre bins do exist, and they are used for communal waste collection. If you live in a block of flats, or student accommodation for example, or if you work on a construction site, you may well find that there are a few 1100 litre wheelies dotted around. In these cases the council will come to the bin, and you won’t need to take it down to the roadside. For people living in individual houses it’s unlikely you’ll want or need anything that big, so don’t get carried away when ordering (plus you’ll still be the one moving the thing around)!

How Many Bin Bags Will My Wheelie Bin Hold?
Good question! Knowing this little titbit of information will ensure you are fully informed about exactly what bin to buy. Here’s our quick guide:

140 litres = 2 black bags
240 litres = 4 black bags
360 litres = 6 black bags
660 litres = 10 black bags
770 litres = 13 black bags
1100 litres = 19 black bags

That should give you a good idea of which size bin you’ll need if you also know how many bags of rubbish you product between bin collections.

When Will My Bin Be Emptied?
Every council has a different collection schedule, and so it entirely depends on where you live as to when your bin will be picked up and emptied. Yes, we know that’s a tad vague, but it’s okay because there is a website you can use to find out exactly when your rubbish will be taken away. Just go to https://www.gov.uk/rubbish-collection-day and pop your postcode into the box. You’ll end up with a link that takes you to your local council’s website, and from there you can find out exactly what’s what when it comes to your wheelie bins.

How Can I Store My Wheelie Bin?
We quite clearly love wheelie bins – we wouldn’t do what we do if we didn’t. But even we can say that we don’t necessarily want to see them all over the place. No matter how lovely they might look, no matter how clean and tidy you keep them, they are still bins, after all, and they will contain stinky old rubbish. So it’s best to store them if you possibly can.

There are a number of options when it comes to wheelie bin storage. A garden store, for example, is ideal for hiding away those bins (even the nicest ones). Your bins will be protected from bad weather such as high winds, wild animals, and anyone who might take a fancy to them if they are locked away in a garden store. As well as this, these stores can come in a variety of different looks and styles to match your taste and outdoor décor. They can be quite big though (bigger than your bin, obviously) so you’ll need to make sure you’ve got the space for one if you choose this option.

Otherwise, what about a wooden bin cover? There’s no need to build a whole new store in the garden, since these covers just get fastened to a wall and then attached to the bin. They make it harder to open the bin so they’re great for added security, plus since they’re attached to the wall, you’ll find they’re quite the deterrent. And then there are bin screens which are a fairly good compromise if bin stores aren’t possible but you want more coverage than a wooden cover will give you. They’re inexpensive, attractive, and easy to install. The downside? They’re not so great when it comes to the wind.

Is It Okay To Buy Cheap Bins?
It’s okay… but we wouldn’t advise it. When it comes to wheelie bins – and pretty much anything else, come to that – buying cheap often means buying twice (or more). And so you end up spending more money than you would have done if you’d upped the budget a bit at the beginning.

A cheap or even just cheaper bin won’t last as long for one thing. Think of this: those bins get dragged up and down driveways, get stuffed full (overfull, probably, which although isn’t recommended we know it happens on a regular basis) of heavy black bags, get knocked over by high winds, and get generally treated pretty badly by their owners and the council workers who have to deal with them. We’re not blaming you or the refuse collectors – it’s what those bins are made for, after all.

But all that lugging and bashing about will cause quite a bit of wear and tear, and on cheaper bins that means they will fall apart sooner rather than later. Wheels can come off, lids can snap away, and the body of the bin itself can become damaged with cracks and splits. Buying a more expensive bin that is made to withstand the slings and arrows (and so on) that are thrown at the good old wheelies is an investment for the long term .

Our bins, for example, are made in Germany and receive top marks for durability and manoeuvrability. And yes, we completely acknowledge that you can get wheelie bins for less money elsewhere, bins that are made in Poland, China, Turkey and so on, but you’ll need to buy two or three of those when one of ours is still going strong. Money saving? Not really in the end.

How Can I Care For My Bin?
As with any possession, it’s good to take care of your wheelie bin. Looking after it properly will basically give you more time with it – we mean, they’ll last longer. That’s money saving as you won’t be off buying a new wheelie every few years, or even months. We recommend that when it comes to looking after you bin, a cleaning regime is the first thing to think about. If wheelie bins aren’t cleaned regularly they’ll begin to smell, but that’s the least of your worries. The bacteria that grow inside will actually attack the structure of the bin, making it more prone to splitting and cracking. Cleaning the bill will stop this from happening.

If you can, keep the lid closed. We know, some weeks there will be more rubbish than others, and the temptation is to just keep piling the bags up and hope for the best. But an open lid makes the bin less stable, and it if falls it can be damaged. Not only that, but any exposed bags are at the mercy of the local wildlife, and no one wants to be cleaning up that kind of mess.

Next, never put anything hot such as ashes into your wheelie bin. A fire in your bin will definitely make it less structurally sound! And even if a fire doesn’t break out, just the heat next to the plastic can open up the bin in all the wrong places.

Keeping your bin hidden and locked up is also a good plan. It’s not maintenance exactly, but by keeping it out of reach thieves and vandals won’t be so tempted to play with it.

And finally, don’t leave it out on the roadside for any longer than it needs to be there. It’s a potential hazard for one thing, and not so nice for pedestrians and neighbours. But also, the longer it’s out there and not closer to your home where you can keep an eye on it, the more trouble it could get into. Take the bin out to the road on the morning of collection day and take it back in as soon as the bin lorry and come and gone. If you’re not at home, do it as soon as you get back.