History of the Dustbin

Most of us have one and probably have done for most of our lives but very few of us give the humble dustbin much thought. But in fact the dustbin has gone through dramatic changes which have coincided with changes that our society has been through over the last hundred years of so.

Whether you call it a dustbins, rubbish bin, garbage can or wheelie bin, the changes to our main refuse collection bin have been dramatic and represent the changing way we live our lives.

Dustbins have only been around since the last 150 years or so. Before that time there was little need for dustbins or waste bins as most waste people discarded were ash (from fires), wood, bones, body waste and vegetable matter which more-often-than-not was just burned in the fireplace.

However, when the industrial revolution happened and more and consumable items were being purchased and a an increase in plastics an other materials were being used. The need to keep our towns and cities clean became apparent.

The 1848 Public Health Act as the first time that a government decided that each household should have access to a rubbish receptacle which was emptied by state funded binmen. Dustbins were introduced by many councils. These rubbish bins were large metal containers and didn’t change on shape or design for decades.

In fact it wasn’t until the latter part of the twentieth century when concerns about land-fill space and the need to recycle some of our waste become apparent did the style and shape of dustbins change.

Along with the introduction of bottle banks, large plastic dustbins were introduced in many parts of the country as a cheaper method of producing bins compare to the heavy metal trash can. However, the need for recycling increased and goner too are these old style bins and most people in England and Wales were given wheelie bins. Wheelie bins not only make the job of collecting rubbish easier, different coloured bins have been introduced to encourage recycling. Many areas of the country now have two or tree wheelie bins. One is a conventional household rubbish bin the others are recycling bins for garden waste or recyclable materials.