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Get the best from bring schemes

Choosing locations

When choosing the locations for bring banks you should consider the following:

  • Is the container conveniently located? Householders should not have to make journeys especially to recycle their plastic bottles. The most popular sites include supermarkets, schools, car parks and community centres.
  • Is the site easy to find and clearly visible? This can be aided by simple signposts, posters and household leaflets to identify site locations.
  • Is there space for parking? Householders who use the site must be able to park their cars safely before unloading their recyclables. Use of the site should not cause obstruction or hazard; so traffic flow and pedestrian safety need to be accounted for.

The site should be assessed using these check points:

  • Is the site kept tidy? The container and site must be easy to maintain and regularly tidied.
  • Is the site aesthetically pleasing? Some landscaping may help to increase site aesthetics. BUT BEWARE, some schemes have seen recovery levels drop after landscaping of bring sites because the visual reminder to recycle was muted. Shielded collection banks are also more susceptible to vandalism.
  • Is the site accepted by the local community. Noise and litter problems can be kept to a minimum through regular daytime servicing. Programs such as adopt a site can help to overcome these problems. Groups such as charitable organisations or local residents agree to keep sites clean and tidy in return for a share of the revenue generated by the material collected. This increases local interest and improves monitoring of the site.

Containers and vehicles


  • Some containers are inadequate for certain environments. It may be necessary to lock smaller containers to fixed posts. Sites that can only be accessed during the day or those sites that are manned have improved security.
  • Can the container be emptied? Some containers need clearance at the sides for collection purposes, so they need to be positioned correctly after servicing. This can be achieved by marking specific bays and ensuring no other containers are put in that space.
  • Some schemes use the same type and colour banks for all recyclables. But this can lead to mistakes by householders and increased contamination rates. Different colour and style of banks will make schemes easier to use.


  • The collection vehicle must be able to reach the site and gain access to the containers. There may be height restrictions and manoeuvrability considerations for a larger vehicle.
  • Are there benefits of integrated material collection? The co mingling of plastics with other materials such as cans may be a viable option and should be explored.
  • Predicting volumes of collected material in a bank will enable the service frequency to be calculated. This will maximise the efficiency of the collections.

Which Container

  • There are a number of containers that can be used to collect plastic bottles, and the various options are set out below. This is one of the most important aspects of a bring scheme as it can affect cost, participation and material recovery.

Which Vehicle

  • The collection service vehicle is another important piece of the recycling jigsaw. There are different collection vehicles because there are a variety of recycling containers with a variety of collection requirements. The vehicles can be divided into manual and mechanical loading systems :-
  • Mechanical loaders are those vehicles with lifting equipment for servicing bottle banks or wheel bins, a lifting arm to pick up nets or bags of material from bring cages, or a vacuum to suck material from a cage. This also includes those equipped to lift banks onto the vehicle to be taken away. Examples of mechanical loaders include Front end loaders, skip loaders and HIAB crane systems.
  • Manual loaders allow co-mingled materials to be deposited without any automated lifting or material sorting. The vehicles are similar to those used for kerbside collections where materials can be hand separated into different segments of the vehicle.


  • For a scheme to run as efficiently as possible, the collection route needs to be optimised. In theory, this means that banks should be emptied as soon as they are completely full, the material is collected using the shortest route possible, and the collection vehicle is completely full when the round is completed. In reality, recycling containers will fill up at different rates. Some will be under used while others are overflowing. Furthermore, some containers may need to be emptied at certain times of day, or on particular days of the week.
  • There are ways to assess the collection and make improvements if necessary. It does require monitoring to gain an idea of how a scheme, and each container within that scheme, is performing. Using driver log sheets can help to identify those banks that are not efficient because of under use. It will also highlight those sites that are continually over flowing which is also detrimental to the scheme. Containers can then be added, relocated, or their capacity changed. Reviewing volumes on each site at specified intervals will also help to ensure collection frequencies are adapted for efficiency, by only collecting banks when they are full. Recoup has achieved significant cost reductions using this method.

Co Reg: 2435729 | VAT Reg No: 546 5837 10 | Reg Charity No: 1072029

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