Brighton & Hove City Council

Bin Infrastructure & Litter Reduction Strategy 2021 – 2026



Introduction and Background

Brighton & Hove City Council is responsible for managing waste and street cleansing in our city. This involves providing litter bins and street cleansing services for a city that:

·         is 34 sq. miles in size

·         has 700 miles of pavement

·         has 7.5 miles of seafront

·         has 147 parks and open spaces covering around 4.64 sq. miles

·         has 290,000 residents

·         welcomes 12 million visitors a year

Currently there are a range of different bin types in the city which have been historically located on an-ad hoc basis with the type and location not recorded. The service has always responded to need in terms of locating bins based on intelligence provided by staff, councillors and residents as to litter hotspots

Moving forward, the council wants to set out a new approach to managing litter and locating ‘on the go’ recycling bins in the city to try to reduce littering, increase recycling and improve service efficiency.

This strategy does not cover Graffiti Reduction which is set out in a separate strategy.



The purpose of this strategy is to provide an infrastructure of bins that meet the needs of residents and visitors when out and about in the city, at the beach or in our open spaces. In doing so, our ambition is not only to improve the cleanliness of the city by reducing littering but also to:

·         contribute to an increase in biodiversity by reducing the harmful effects of littering which pollutes the environment.

·         influence behaviours to reduce the creation of litter.

·         contribute to carbon reduction by working towards circular economy principles, increasing the provision of ‘on the go’ recycling facilities.

·         improve the look of the city by having a uniform style of bin that is sympathetic to architecture and heritage of the city.

The underlying approach of our strategy is to make it easy for residents, businesses and visitors to do the right thing.

A rainbow arch of cans from our Every Can Counts campaign with Alupro in Summer 2020 encouraging beach vistors to recycle their cans


With this vision in mind the council is setting out the following strategic objectives that we will follow for the next five years:

1.    Reduce littering and improve the cleanliness of the city by providing the appropriate bin in the appropriate location

2.    Reduce littering and improve the cleanliness of the city by improving service performance

3.    Reduce littering and improve the cleanliness of the city by working with businesses

4.    Reduce littering and improve the cleanliness of the city by working with Volunteers

5.    Prevent Littering and improve the cleanliness of the city through behaviour change


The Bin Infrastructure & Litter Reduction Action Plan set out in detail how these objectives will be met.



Every year we collect around 5000 tonnes of litter, leaves, flytip and waste from ‘on the go bins’. Of this around 140 tonnes is from dog poo bins; 812 tonnes is flytip. The rest is a combination of litter collected from bins or swept up by the street cleansing team.

We issue around 2000 Fixed Penalty Notices for Environmental Offences such as littering and flytipping every year.

We spend in the region of £10,000 a year supporting community clean-up events

In the last city tracker, which was in 2018:

·         61% of residents were satisfied or very satisfied with street cleansing services

·         80% were satisfied with our parks and open spaces

·         69% were satisfied with the seafront


Current Bin Infrastructure

While we have data on our streets, dog poo and seafront bins, we have limited information on our waste bins in parks and open spaces. We have 1683 bin units (some of the units contain more than one bin) on our streets and seafront. However, based on the knowledge of staff we estimate that there are approximately 2000 bin units in the city including:

·         96 Solar Powered Compaction Bins

·         170 Triple Bins on the seafront – a unit with three bins allowing for the disposal of refuse, mixed recycling and glass

·         505 Dog Poo Bins

·         30 Barbeque Bins

·         7 Super-bins (contain storage for community tidy up equipment)

One of the first steps of the strategy, which has started, is to audit our street, beach and park bins and map their locations. The bins will be numbered and placed on ‘beat sheets’ enabling us to better ensure a consistent service and that they are regularly maintained and cleaned. The audit will also enable us to develop a replacement programme and will identify the bin type; the bin condition and estimate of when it will need replacing; whether it needs cleaning or repainting; whether it has sufficient capacity; and whether it is in an appropriate location.

We won’t be able to calculate the number of bins required until the full audits are completed but would estimate that over the next 5 years we will need to replace or add 1500 bins  which will cost in the region of £1m.

The council is already taking forwards plans to:

·         Review the use and location of the compaction bins to improve efficiency and to improve their aesthetic.

·         Audit and replace dog poo bins with generic waste bins wherever possible to increase capacity.

·         Review the number, location and type of bins in parks working with the community with a view to ensuring capacity and location are correct and introducing ‘on the go recycling’ facilities where practical to do so.

·         Review the number, location and type of street bin to ensure location and capacity is correct and with a view to introducing ‘on the go recycling’ facilities where practical to do so.

·         Introducing cigarette butt bins in locations where there are high volumes of cigarette butt litter.

·         Introducing a bin with uniform colour coding for recycling for the city (based on the city’s heritage colours) and which is sympathetic to the architecture and heritage of the city.

·         Relocate bins, if necessary, to match the needs and aesthetics of an area.

Wherever possible we will continue to refurbish and reuse existing bins, in line with circular economy principles, in order to minimise costs and our impact on carbon emissions. However, we will seek to replace bins types and designs with bins, refurbished or new, that are appropriate to the location and surrounding environment.

Since winter 2019, Triple Bins which allow for recycling have been rolled out along the length of the seafront. They have been placed using the principles of increasing bin capacity to reduce littering and to ensure that if a bin is full there is another a few feet away and within easy sight. Where we know there is high footfall and/or high levels of littering, and at access/egress points to the seafront we have more bins placed more closely together. This shifts away from a former view that reducing the number of bins will lead to people taking their waste home and take fewer council resources for emptying. This has not been shown to be the case and instead has led to an increase in littering which is a more costly issue for the council to deal with in terms of waste management.

Emptying the Triple Bins has required us to implement a different collection method for street bins using a small Refuse Collection Vehicle rather than rubbish bags being lifted into a caged van. This is in order that the recycling can be processed in our Materials Recovery Facility which is not able to take recycling in plastic bags. This has required investment in new trucks and logistical changes which will need to be extended as we roll the bins out further. It does bring the benefit of substantially reducing the council’s use of single use plastic bags which is better for the environment and a cost saving.


Seafront Triple Bin providing recycling in Brighton & Hove heritage style and colours – making it easier for people to do the right thing


It should be noted that where on the go recycling bins are heavily contaminated it may not be possible to recycle the contents. However, the experience of other countries who have provided these facilities for many years suggests that overtime and with education the levels of contamination reduce and more can be recycled.

As part of the bin audit and replacement project, a business case will be developed and sources of funding identified to enable the roll out of new bins. On street bins are costly and the programme to replace will be over 5 years but will be accelerated as funds allow.


Reducing Litter - Working with Residents, Visitors and Businesses

In 2020/21, Local Authorities and other public landowners dealt with a significant increase in the volumes of litter over the summer months. As a result of the pandemic, many more people were using the city’s open spaces and taking picnics with them. Many businesses in these areas were opening for takeaways which were very welcomed by the public. Large numbers of additional bins were put out in order to increase capacity but the bins were regularly overflowing and there was extensive littering in parks, the seafront and other open spaces. To illustrate this on one day in June 2020 we collected 11.5 tonnes of litter. A very busy summer Saturday before the pandemic would generate in the region of 3.5 tonnes of litter. Council staff, third sector groups, some businesses and volunteers rose to the challenge by directing as many resources as possible to litter picking the beach but the problem persisted throughout the summer. What was particularly concerning is the amount of plastic and plastic lined take away coffee cups littering the beach which could easily end up in the sea. On the positive side the new Triple Bins did lead to a reduction in beach litter which will have provided some protection to the sea.


In response to this, a litter reduction project has started with Surfers Against Sewage and seafront traders to reduce litter generated on the seafront. A particular focus of this project is to look at how we work together to reduce the use of single use plastics on the seafront including plastic lined coffee cups. An accreditation scheme is being developed to pilot with seafront traders that will provide recognition for businesses that manage waste that they generate responsibly and encourage their customers to do likewise.

One of the challenges for the city is the very high number of visitors that we have every year, around 12 million. This is fantastic for the economy of the city but the high level of footfall puts a strain on the existing bin infrastructure and the cleanliness of the city. However, the lack of cleanliness, litter and graffiti can deter visitors and make the city less welcoming. It can also make some visitors feel that it is not important to the city whether they put their litter in bins.

Education and information are critical to send the right message to visitors and information from the station and city carparks about the importance of managing their litter responsibly and how to recycle in our city is critical. For this season new messaging is being developed and signage, pavement stencils and vinyls will be used to raise awareness. Volunteer organisation, Leave No Trace Brighton, are planning to be present at the station on busy days to provide information and education to visitors.

The Living Coast have been running a BioCultural Heritage Tourism project, a strand of which is working with small and medium size tourism businesses to raise awareness of the global environmental status of this region, showcase their own sustainability achievements, build best practise case studies and share learning with the business community.  The Living coast will be looking to expand this work into non-tourism businesses in the coming months.

The council already recruits seasonal staff to support the service during these busy times but as part of the strategy a review of staffing will be needed to ensure that we are adequately resourced to cope at the right times. A review of street cleansing equipment is also required to see if we can identify equipment that will improve standards of cleanliness and efficiency.

In September 2020 during the Keep Britain Tidy Clean Up week the council undertook a deep clean of some of the central areas of the city over four nights. This was very successful, and it is intended will become a regular event four times a year, subject to resources being available.

It is critical for the council to work with businesses to reduce littering and improve cleanliness. In the city centre the Business Improvement District can provide a forum to consult with traders and provide ideas, innovation and additional resources. The Tourism Alliance regularly organise clean ups and environmental improvement projects which the council want to support.

One of the issues that is regularly raised by residents, visitors and some businesses is the blight of commercial bins on the highway which can block access; are sometimes a long way from the businesses in a residential street; look unsightly, can be overflowing; are frequently used by taggers and can attract flytip. The council has a communal bin collection system for the city centre which needs upgrading and can be the cause of similar problems. However, having commercial bins on the highway, which are not in council control, add an additional problem for the city. The council therefore commenced a consultation at the end of 2020 to consider a time-band when commercial bins can be placed on the highway within the city centre. Once the feedback from this consultation has been analysed, the results will be presented to the Environment Transport & Sustainability Committee for a decision.


Communities and Volunteers

Our residents do an incredible job of helping to keep the city clean and tidy. Hundreds of volunteers and community groups litter pick the beach parks and open spaces, paint out graffiti and remove weeds. In a normal year the council supports more than 100 volunteer beach cleans.

Social Media has provided a platform for groups of like-minded residents and businesses to come together raise awareness, share resources, organise clean-ups and to make suggestions and ask questions of the council. For example, Help Keep Brighton and Hove Clean and Tidy, Leave No Trace groups across the city, the Tourism Alliance and many others. The work of these groups and volunteers is invaluable to the council and to the city

The council operate the ‘Tidy Up Team’ that provides training, advice and equipment for residents who want to be involved in environmental improvement projects. 253 volunteers have been trained by the council and 535 more participate in organised Tidy Ups. But many other residents participate in community clean-up projects organised by councillors, third sector groups and community groups. In 2019 The council held 16 Volunteer Training sessions and organised 30 big Tidy Up events. The Tidy up volunteers are also running their own events and tidy ups every day of the week every week of the year and they share some of their achievements on their Facebook page.

A dedicated email provides a single point of contact for residents and businesses involved in volunteer clean-up activities to arrange for materials, PPE or waste collections. The council also provides community equipment stores which are kept stocked so that volunteers can easily access the equipment they need. In light of the demand for and impact of these tidy ups the council is considering providing a dedicated budget to facilitate this and other environmental improvement projects initiated by the community.

Another example is Leave No Trace Brighton working with the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme arranged for the installation of tubes along the seafront where volunteers can collect old fishing line and nets from the beach. These are plastic waste that would otherwise go back into the sea causing damage to marine life. The council covered the costs of the initiative and in one month in excess of 270kg had been collected for recycling by June 2021

We also welcome donations from businesses who wish to sponsor such events and support the community in keeping the city tidy.

Ghost Gear recycling tube initiative by Leave no Trace Brighton


During Keep Britain Tidy Week the council initiated the ‘Dust Up Your Doorstep’ initiative to enable people to contribute to the cleanliness of their neighbourhood during the pandemic. More new initiatives are planned for 2021.

·         Adopt-A-Street scheme – this scheme will enable volunteers to effectively maintain their adopted street by giving them access to tools, materials, and knowledge so they can deal with issues by themselves or by reporting. We will also ask participants to conduct a regular litter survey to monitor the success of the scheme. Participants will also be recognised through the installation of signs that show this is an Adopt-A-Street area, similar to the Neighbourhood Watch schemes

·         Tidy Up Your Twitten scheme - Twittens are the Sussex name for alleyways. The scheme will concentrate on helping communities and individuals transform Twittens to make them cleaner, safer, and more attractive. It is based on the Alley Angels scheme in Aintree, Liverpool.

·         School engagement programme - A programme where volunteers work with schools providing assemblies, activities and events in and with schools to encourage more recycling, less waste, and less use of resources through activities such as book-swap schemes, organised litter picks in and around schools, no packaging lunch days at least once per term, recycling awareness classroom talks or activities and much more all delivered and organised by volunteers from the Tidy Up Team that have had relevant training and safeguarding checks

·         Corporate Social Responsibility Scheme – A scheme to help subsidise volunteer activities and schemes by charging fees to corporate organisations from outside Brighton & Hove that want to be involved in activities such as Beach Cleans

·         Street Wardens Scheme – similar to the Adopt-A-Street activity but concentrating more on issues to do with graffiti and street trees and furniture

·         Tidy Up Team Leaders – Tidy Up Team members that have had a leadership training session and can be responsible for organising community litter activities


Keeping Major Roads Litter Free

There are two major highways with sections within the city boundaries – the A27 (14 miles) and a short section of the A23 (1.5 miles). The roads are managed and maintained by Highways England but the Local Authority has responsibility for litter picking these routes and their slipways. Doing so is complex and very costly as lane closures are required to keep staff working on them safe and comply with legal regulations. This means that the highways can end up with excesses of rubbish on the verges which can get into the waterways and is harmful to the environment and to wildlife.

Permission to work on the road is required from Highways England and any work the council does has to fit in with plans for road maintenance. Where budgets have been cut in the past the number of litter picks on the highways has reduced. The council is allocated a budget of £55,000 p.a. from 2021/22, specifically for litter picking these roads.

Cityclean is in liaison with Highways England’s contractor to arrange for a deep clean of these routes and then to make an annual plan going forward to enable us to use planned road closures to litter pick regularly keeping costs down. We will also be seeking to co-ordinate with verge cutting to avoid litter being shredded.

Much of this litter is blown from the back of trucks where a load is unsecured. This is an offense and the council will be working with Sussex Police over the coming year to carry out preventative operations and fine drivers where appropriate. As part of this project signage to prevent littering will be considered.

As part of the bin audit and replacement programme consideration will be given to bin provision and the type of bin provided in laybys. For example this could be a good location for compactor solar bins to reduce the risk of overflowing bins.

The A27 Clean Up Campaign group are very active in raising awareness of the issues with litter on the A27. The council will continue a dialogue with the group who bring helpful initiatives ideas and information in addition to holding Local Authorities, Highways England and the government to account on this matter.

Education and Enforcement

While we all would prefer that people do the right thing and dispose of their waste responsibly sadly not everyone does and last year during the pandemic this was exemplified more than ever before.

As mentioned above education is key to helping us change behaviour and the council use social media to try to raise awareness and bring about change. An Education Programme for schools is about to be commissioned and Cityclean had planned an educational programme for University Students on managing waste responsibly for Freshers week 2020 but this has had to be postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic.


In March 2019 the council insourced the Environmental Enforcement Team. The team is fully self-funding with income generated from fines to cover the costs of salaries and other costs. However, a new ethos for the team was introduced when insourced that we would not fine people at the expense of education. The income collected therefore also has to cover officer time required to be involved in educating people to make changes to their behaviour rather than seeking our opportunities to fine them. Any excess income from fines will be used for Environmental Improvement Projects in line with legal requirements. Our ambition for this team is that they are trained and become experts in litter and environmental crime prevention.

The Environmental Enforcement Team works to our Environmental Enforcement Framework which is determined by councillors at committee. The crimes that we enforce against and the level of fines are set out in this Framework and is kept under constant review. New initiatives are added to the Framework at least twice a year.

The table below shows the number of fines issued in 2020/21.

1st April 2020 - 31st March 2021


FPNs Issued



Unauthorised flyering


Dog fouling


Fly posting


Littering from vehicles






Disposing of commercial waste illegally


Failure to produce a waste transfer note


Non-compliance of duty of care certificate


Spitting, urinating or defecating


Breaching a dog control order


Breaching a dog exclusion order





The new team has built excellent relationships with Sussex Police who they work with on joint operations and prosecutions where appropriate. This has been crucial for our most recent initiative when we introduce eight mobile cameras to tackle the crime of flytipping. These cameras have been located in hotspot areas since the end of October and in these areas we have seen an estimated reduction in flytipping of 50%. We have found that much of this flytipping is being carried out by commercial organisations. Since the introduction of the cameras we have purchased a further 6, 2 of which are particularly focussed on graffiti crime. Another 4 are on order to particularly focus on housing owned areas of land. The removal of flytip is an unnecessary cost to local taxpayers and is a blight on the look and cleanliness of the city.

Over time these cameras will be moved to other locations and the hope is that as they become known and more people are fined, flytippers will be deterred. Two additional cameras are on order which will also be used to try to catch prolific flytippers. Given the success of this initiative we will seek to procure more cameras in the future as funds allow.

Signage is also essential to inform residents of the consequences of littering and flytipping. Over the past year we have started the roll of new signage and started the process of removing old and outdated signage. Anti-littering signs have now been rolled out across the city centre and the seafront but will be extended to parks, open spaces. Anti-graffiti signs are also being rolled out and flytip prevention signs have been commissioned.



Circular Economy Principles

The council will continue to strive towards reducing carbon emissions in the way in which we responding to littering and on the go waste production. The council has already placed the requirement for sustainability in the way in which it undertakes procurement. So, for example, we refurbish our bins for as long as possible and they are ultimately sent for recycling when this is no longer possible. When we purchase new bins, we look to purchase ones with a high content of recycled material.

We need to continually push this further with business, residents and visitors. Some of the actions that we are currently working on or plan to in the future are captured in the action plan or other associated plans. Some examples are:

·         Encouraging seafront traders to consider a deposit scheme on drinking tumblers – if successful this could be rolled out by other trading associations.

·         Encouraging people to use their own reusable cups and reusable picnicware for takeaways.

·         We are transitioning to electric fleet for emptying bins which is in part powered by solar panels at our depot.

·         Consulting on the prohibition of single use barbeques and encouraging the use of reusable barbeques instead.

·         Encouraging people to reduce ‘on the go’ consumption of all single use materials but where that is not possible to use recycling bins whether they are provided in a street or park location or at home.

·         Exploring new technologies that would help to enable waste and littering reduction and the carbon costs of managing and processing it.


Governance and Review

This strategy will be a live strategy which is constantly reviewed and updated in light of changing technologies, and changes in the needs of the city and feedback from residents, visitors, community groups and staff. We will also constantly review the performance of other similar cities and their approaches to managing litter both in the UK and abroad.

A set of Monitoring and Performance Indicators has been developed in order to monitor the outcomes of the strategy delivery. In some cases, further development of recording systems will be required in order to provide the data required

At the moment we issue around 2000 fines a year for environmental offences of which 1000 are for littering. The key performance indicator for us will be to see the FPNs for littering reduce by half to 500 a year by 2026 – however being mindful that there could be other factors that could influence this figure.

The other key indicators will be to see an increase in

·         Satisfaction with Street Cleansing Service – 61%

·         Satisfaction with parks and open spaces – 80%

·         Satisfaction with the seafront – 69%

Table 2 – Monitoring and Performance Indicators

Indicator/monitoring Description

Reporting Frequency

Reduction of loose litter




Condition of litter bins


Levels of recycling from ‘on the go’ recycling litter bins


Contamination rates of ‘on the go recycling’


Tonnage collected from litter bins


Number of fly tips


Number of complaints about litter on A27/A23


Number of FPNs issued by type


Satisfaction with Street Cleansing Services


Satisfaction with Parks and Open Spaces


Satisfaction with the Seafront