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Industry to revisit people in bins campaign

A new industry campaign to prevent rough sleepers being killed or injured if they sleep in waste bins is set to launch in the new year, after a previous Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) and Biffa campaign stalled.

Although the CIWM told MRW in October that measures such as banging on the side of late bins to alert any occupants had become “accepted good practice”, the institution has now said it wants to review the relevant research and reconvene an industry group to examine the problem.

This followed both a feature in the Guardian on rough sleepers in bins – which said Biffa would shortly launch a campaign – and the finding by police that missing RAF gunner Corrie McKeague’s body was probably in one of the company’s landfill sites after he fell asleep in a bin in Bury St Edmunds in September 2016.

The previous industry campaign, led by Biffa, was called ’People in Bins’ but ran out of steam in 2017 with minimal activity since.

MRW was told in May 2017 that a cross-sector working group, which Biffa was helping to co-ordinate, was ”discussing concrete actions for [the] next steps”. Despite repeated requests for futher information, no follow-up statement was issued.

Merseyside-based B&M Waste, which was part of the original campaign, launched its own campaign called ’Refuse not Refuge’ this autumn.

MRW understands the new CIWM campaign is likely to start towards the end of the winter, when cold weather shelters normally close and rough sleepers are most likely to seek shelter.

It is expected to concentrate on alerting retailers and managers of industrial estates to their duty to keep waste safe until it can be collected, the assumption being that, if companies take such precautions, rough sleepers will be unable to access bins.

CIWM head of policy and communications Pat Jennings said: “In February 2014, a report was published with the outcome of research by CIWM, Biffa and Streetlink into the issues, risks and prevention of people sleeping in waste containers.

“We would like to review this report in the near future, and are also looking to work with key stakeholders to bring together a cross-sector working group to look at this issue again.”

Jennings said the CIWM welcomed the relaunch of B&M’s ’Refuse not Refuge’ campaign, including its staff training programme to remind drivers to check containers, particularly for universities, colleges and retail parks.

She also urged operators and waste producers to revisit the WISH guidance document Waste25.


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