Rubbish, Wind, and Gravity

Being woken up in the middle of the night by tin cans rolling around outside the house along Church Street, Maiden Bradley, kick-started this topical item. It was quite the adventure; out in the dark and the wind and the rain – litter picking!

During the recent stormy weather our village was awash (literally) with windblown escaped rubbish. And, as we all should know, escaped rubbish is litter on the run, and that untidy stuff typically ends up everywhere it shouldn’t be.

Particularly on rubbish collection days, when it’s the turn of recycled trash for collection (every other Monday, usually), how many lids have been blown off these somewhat dysfunctional council black box things we’ve been given? That is to say, those lids which appear to blow off every time the wind gusts at more than a gentle breeze – which is often enough the case, up here on the billowing downs.

Of especial concern, aside from litter generation as an environmental nuisance, is that an unseen lid on the ground, and/or scattered rubbish, is a very real and present pedestrian hazard. Vehicles on the move are also placed at risk.

What can be done to contain this unacceptable situation?

Some recycle box lids do their job – many do not (as a result of warping, structural damage, or simply overpacking).

Weighting dubious recycle box lids down (or, lost lid box contents) with heavy rocks, fire grates, broken patio slabs, and…you name it, anything else that feasibly enhances gravity enough to stop lids and litter levitating all over Maiden Bradley (and beyond), seems the way to go. (We could try ropes; but, my bet is that this would not go down well with the bin people.)

Additionally, if there are several small bins around, careful stacking (not too high against a supporting wall) has been proven to work – with something heavy on top, if needed.

To make this heavy object strategy work, though, there needs to be enough WEIGHT and STABILITY in our choice of ‘gravity enhancers’.

For example; if a gravity enhancer might roll off (log), or is not heavy enough (pebble), we may as well use an old roller skate, or a church crow feather; you know, for all the good it will do in securing our recycle rubbish.

On very windy days and nights the big council bin lids may be a problem also. Their lids blowing open, sometimes causing the bin itself to tip. Or, the bin wobbles about, rocks on its base, maybe slides somewhere else, and then sometimes over it goes. This usually tends to happen if big bins are lightly packed, or packed top-heavy. That’s something worth bearing in mind; bottom-heavy is more wind resistant. But, anything can topple in a gale.

Keeping the big bins sheltered, and/or judging prevailing wind direction, is useful. Wedge them in somewhere handy (against each other even). Also, be sure to position their backs to the blast so that the wind has less chance to lift the lid’s handle end (who designed these big bin lid handles with an air pocket which assists wind leverage during stormy conditions?). Or, if the weather looks fierce, put something stable and heavy enough on top of these lids too. Certainly try to avoid leaving any big/small bins in very exposed places, if at all possible.

Of course, we can postpone putting out our garbage, especially when the weather is rough, until near morning collection time – or, until the last grown-up house member leaves the building, at least. But, and nevertheless, adequate security of contents still needs to be checked. It only takes a moment for lids and litter to fly willy-nilly on a windy day.

As most of us are aware, there is already quite a significant litter problem in our area generally. Mainly from passing vehicles and some thoughtless walkers. Let’s not make it any worse by overlooking due diligence when it comes to our own personal rubbish containment obligations.

We all live in a beautiful area of the country (indeed, the world). Let’s do our very best to keep our part of it as safe and tidy as we can. And, If YOU see any vagabond rubbish on your/its travels – do pick it up. Every litter bit helps!

For more info on this and other crucial topics, you’re very welcome to have a pick around my Maiden Bradley site, here. . ., or browse: Wikipedia – Maiden Bradley (External Links)

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