While green bins at Silwood Centre in Rondebosch have been removed, the fate of those located at Rondebosch Common is still unclear.
The City of Cape Town’s Green Litter Bin Project was implemented in July 2009.
Green bins are usually placed in areas where there are high volumes of pedestrian traffic.
However, the alleged misuse of the bins by residents and street people in some instances has raised the question whether they are not doing more harm than good.
Shirley Aldum, manager of the Rondebosch Community Improvement District (RCID), says in the case of the green bins located at Silwood Centre, they proved to be more of a “headache” than anything else.
As a result, the RCID requested that the City’s solid waste management department remove them.
“The green bins were counterproductive as street people dig in the bins and leave the litter lying on the road. Within a short time, the surrounding area is littered with take-away boxes, cool drink bottles and paper.”
In addition, she says, even when the green bins were there, the RCID still had to regularly arrange for clean-ups at the Sandown Road and Park Road intersection because people were leaving their litter on the ground where they had been sitting.
“Some, not the majority, of residents use the public bins for their excess garbage. Sometimes the bins aren’t cleaned on a regular basis and they overflow,” says Aldum.
In April, People’s Post reported that the addition of extra green bins along Campground Road in Rondebosch was being blamed for an increase in litter at the Rondebosch Common.
Brett Adams, the founder of a small group of clean-up volunteers called Common Cause, said the green bins along the stretch of the road opposite Rustenburg Girls’ High School had exacerbated the littering problem on the 40-hectare conservation area.
Tim Jobson, acting chair of the Friends of Rondebosch Common (FRC), says they do not have a definite view on the green bins on the perimeter of the Common.
“Bins are both a benefit and a problem. Members of the FRC committee have mixed opinions on this issue, and whether having more bins available improves or increases the litter problem.”
He adds that the FRC committee has not officially requested additional bins nor have they requested removal of bins.
“Similarly, I have not made any requests regarding litter bins in my role as acting chair of FRC or as a private citizen,” he says.
Adams, who stepped down as the chair of FRC last year, says there are about eight green bins along that stretch at present. He says he cleans up around each bin almost every morning.
“For the past two years, there have probably only been three green bins there and the litter was a lot less. We sort of killed the litter on the Common and now I have noticed – it was about three months ago – the Council fixed all the bins and put new bins in. The litter just got more exponentially,” he says.
On whether the bins should stay or go, Adams says it is a tough call.
“There are two schools of thought. The bins are nice because they are convenient, but the thing is they also invite bin pickers. Every night after 20:00, some oke (person) goes and scratches, it could just be one person, and makes a mess.
“I am of the school that you should just keep your own litter. If you go into a shop and buy something, then put it in a bag in your car and throw it away at home.”
He believes that the problem of litter will only be solved once every resident starts taking responsibility.
“I can’t believe that someone can pass a guy littering from a green bin and just keep driving. You just need to stop your car and just try and say to the person, ‘What are you doing?’, and hopefully eventually people will learn not to mess,” says Adams.