Fifteen new solar-powered litter bins have been bought by Hartlepool Borough Council as part of its on-going drive to keep the town clean and tidy.
The sun’s rays charge a 12-volt battery which powers a compacting system that allows the Bigbelly bins to take up to eight times more waste than standard bins.
The bins, which are being trialled at various locations around Seaton Carew, also have a hi-tech system that alerts council staff by text and email when they need emptying.
The bins, which are costing £90,000, are opened using a handle or a foot pedal and they are self-closing once litter has been deposited.
It means that scavenging seagulls are unable to get to the waste inside the bins.
Tony Hanson, the council’s assistant director (environment and neighbourhood services), said: “We are constantly seeking new and innovative ways of delivering services more effectively and efficiently. We do sometimes experience problems with overflowing bins - particularly in busy seaside areas like Seaton Carew which are very popular with both residents and visitors from outside the town - and the increased capacity of the Bellybins can help to prevent such situations from occurring.
“Their increased capacity also means reduced collections and, therefore, reduced costs. Less frequent collections also free up staff to work in other parts of the town, a situation that can only benefit both the Council and residents.”
If the bins at Seaton Carew prove successful, it is hoped to install others in more parts of the town.
Their purchase follows the Council’s approval earlier this year of a three-year Clean and Green Strategy which sets out a vision for clean and well-maintained streets, parks, other green spaces and highways across the town. It recognises that cleanliness and the quality of the environment impact on how residents feel about their area.