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12 December 2012

University awarded £41,000 to trial new project to prevent littering on campus

The University of Dundee is to trial a litter-reduction project that will see it install ten solar-powered "Big Belly" bins across campus.

The university has received a £41,000 grant from Zero Waste Scotland, the Scottish Government-backed body set up to help Scotland reduce waste, recycle more, and use resources efficiently, to enable them to purchase the new bins.

Big Belly bins use solar power to compact materials, allowing them to hold six to eight times more waste despite being the same size as a standard street bin. This increased capacity reduces collection trips, fuel costs and greenhouse gas emissions by 80%. Surplus power generated by the bins will be used to power free wi-fi hotspots at each bin.

Trudy Cunningham , Environment & Sustainability Officer at the University, said, "Litter is a problem which affects communities up and down the country, and as such we are delighted to receive this funding to help us address the root of the problem, developing a new approach to prevent littering from occurring.

"The Big Belly bins feature a Wireless Management System which provides online access to real time bin fill levels, reducing the number of collections required by 86% and making this service more efficient. If successful, we hope this innovative new approach could be rolled-out further."

The funding comes from a £250,000 Litter Prevention Innovation Fund, launched by Zero Waste Scotland for the first time earlier this year. The fund aims to provide community groups, local authorities, businesses and landowners with the opportunity to trial new innovative ways to prevent littering - helping to keep our streets clean and capture more valuable materials for recycling.

Iain Gulland, Zero Waste Scotland, said, "Our funding aims to help prevent the problem of litter in the first place. Littering is not only an ugly blight on our streets, it also sees valuable materials go to waste.

"When collected for recycling, items like plastic bottles and drink cans can bring financial benefits to Scotland. It has been estimated that achieving a 70% recycling rate by 2025 could benefit our economy by around £175million.

"By piloting new ways to prevent litter, we are empowering local communities to tackle litter problems head on. Over the last year, we have also invested around £750,000 to see more recycling units installed in busy public places in Scotland. These facilities will make it even easier to recycle when you are out and about, just as many already do at home.

"Preventing litter and recycling as much as possible ensures we make the best possible use of our resources and do what's right for the environment."

Notes to editors:

About Zero Waste Scotland:
Zero Waste Scotland works with businesses, communities, individuals and local authorities to help them reduce waste, recycle more and use resources sustainably. Zero Waste Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government to support the delivery of its Zero Waste Plan.

More information on all Zero Waste Scotland's programmes can be found at

For further information about Zero Waste Scotland contact:
Chloe Bellany, Communications Executive
Tel: 01786 433964
Mob: 07540 517127

About Big Belly Solar Compactor Bins:
Following six years of extensive trialling with over 162 Councils & Universities and with completed business cases, the Big Belly has been proven to reduce the number of street bin collections by an average 86% and related collection costs by an average 70%.

This has been proven with Councils such as Nottingham, Bath, Isle Of Man, Bournemouth, Oxford, Birmingham, Liverpool, Westminster, Scunthorpe, Aberdeen, Edinburgh & Trinity College and loads more besides.

The following is a ITV feature on the compactors in Bath - ITV News - Bath Big Belly Installation

For more details:
Don Coughlan
Mobile: 07895 043079

For media enquiries contact:
Grant Hill
Press Officer
University of Dundee
Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4HN
TEL: 01382 384768
MOBILE: 07854 953277