We used to live in a semi industrial area, cheap, tumbledown cottages amongst boat yards and spray-painters. Bins weren’t much of an issue. Most places were businesses that had their own skip bins collected by private companies and the not-particularly-successful-prostitute next door who liked to marry her pets off to each other seemed to prefer to collect rubbish rather than dispose of it.

Now we live in a “nice” area in a cottage that has been extended in every direction so many times I am worried that one more extension will tear a hole in the space-time continuum (and we all know what will happen then!) Our house sits puffing it’s chest up amongst large, calmly elegant homes and the gardens here are tended by professionals (not ours, ours is just jumped on and scratched up by chickens!). Instead of an anthropomorphising escort we have a well-known conservative politician as a neighbour ( I will leave it up to you to judgement which is preferable).

What I didn’t anticipate when we moved in was how very complicated wheely bins were going to be. I am not talking about when to put out the recycling (although that does seem to be hit and miss).

Within a couple of days of moving in we had had a terse passive aggressive note in our letter box about not putting rubbish in “their” bin as the disaster of trying to get the last bag of rubbish at 6am into a full bin was simply too much to bear and the council would leave them with an over full bin for a whole week and it would be all our fault. I don’t think we even put rubbish in her bin but I have noted that the wealthiest people seem to be only willing to fork out for the smallest (and cheapest) wheely bin! I also not that the next day the bin truck does the other side of the street so should the council truck miss your bin you don’t have to wait a week. It must be a boring life where bins take such an important role in your life- maybe a benevolent hobby is a good idea?

You might think that having had complaints about putting rubbish in a bin would be the end of bin complications but you would be wrong. Now every Sunday (and the following morning) we await to see the results of Bin Wars. It is a bit like Game of Thrones but instead of ruling we are vying for the spot to put the bins.

It is a wonderful combination of having long shared driveways so that kerb-space is at a premium and neighbours that seem to have very set and conflicting ideas about how these bins should be arranged. A complicated ballet ensues once bins have been placed if SOMEONE decides they are in the wrong spot. We have not yet caught the phantom bin mover nor have we figured out where the “right” spot for all of the bins apparently is. I am giving a very hard Paddington Bear style stare in the direction of the pearl clutching woman who writes terse and passionate bin based notes though…

We put the bins next to our driveway and they are moved to the other side, we put them on the other side and they are moved back but slightly to the right of the previous place.

Oddly enough this morning the bins were collected (actually that bit wasn’t odd at all, it is bin day today so that was really quite predictable) at precisely 7.08am. I heard some commotion to do with bins, up and down the driveway, being humped about yet they were all in situ with none being taken back to their bin homes when I left to do the school run.

I am tempted to set up a camera to try to figure out what on earth is going on and then I wonder if I am just being sucked into the personal hell of strange suburban bin wars.

I did nearly leave a passive aggressive note on a car the other day, it is probably good that we are leaving the neighbourhood, I don’t want to become “one of them”!

Have you had odd happenings with the neighbours and their wheely bins? What is a quirk of your area?


  1. Jo @ Countrylifeexperiment says:

    We don’t get bin collections out here – we have to take them to the tip ourselves. When we lived in the city, CB once tried to put a whole lot of cracked bricks into the wheelie bin, and the truck couldn’t lift it. They put sticker on it telling us how bad we were, so we had to pull most of the bricks out, and wait a whole week again (we had a baby in nappies at the time!). He then tried to stick a few of the bricks in each of the neighbours bins. I was terrified that their bins would be rejected too. Fortunately we got away with it 🙂

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