Our wheelie bins do their job faithfully, week after week and they’re a common sight, from the home wheelie bins, to commercial bins at businesses all around the world, but have you ever given a thought to how the humble wheelie bin is made and how they came into use?
Years ago waste bins used to be round metal containers with a handle either side, which the bin men would hoist onto their shoulders and fling the contents into the back of the bin truck. It seems not much thought was given to health and safety in those days, let alone hygiene and environmental concerns, but we’ve come a long way since then. The wheelie bin as we now know it was originally invented by a company based in Slough in 1968 as a way of moving waste easier round the factory. An eagle eyed Health and Safety inspector spotted the design and saw how they could reduce back injuries suffered by binmen. It wasn’t until the late 1980s in the UK the reign of the wheelie bin truly begun, with the introduction of waste collection trucks which automatically picked up and emptied the bins. The rest is history… and we now can’t imagine not seeing those bin trucks, or wheelie bins.
At Gaskells we have a range of different sizes of wheelie bins to suit all different size business, from the 240s to 1100s in our distinctive green and yellow, which now takes us back to one of our original questions, how are they made? We’ve been over to our chosen supplier, Weber in Dusseldorf, Germany to find out. Weber’s a family run business which began producing technical plastic components in 1969 and in the early 1990s, expanded to become a manufacturer of high quality two and four wheeled wheelie bins. This quality, and the fact Weber is a family business are part of the reasons we chose them as our supplier.
Their factory in Haan is huge and very clean, with more than 50 silos which contain the HDPE granules which will go through the compact injection moulding process to create the bins. Almost the whole process is automated with the basics being, the main parts of the body and bin are formed by injection moulding where the molten granules are injected into a mould which is then left to cool and harden. The lid is fastened onto the body hinge and a metal axles with rubber wheels are mounted onto the bottom of the bin.
The machines at Weber can make one wheelie bin every two minutes and everything used to make the bins is fully recyclable.
Another fascinating part of the process we saw is what happens when they’re changing colour of the bins they’re producing. These pictures show the change from when the production of dark green bins was coming to an end and the colour was being ‘bled out’ for the next colour. Neutral HDPE granules are added until the colour is slowly got rid of. These ‘colour bleed’ bins are shredded and the plastic re-used for other parts of bins, but we think they look pretty special and rather arty!
All in all, a fantastic factory visit, it was great to see the work that goes into the bins, to see the professionalism and passion behind the work and to meet the Weber family and the rest of the team.
Dave Elliot from Weber UK said “Weber are very pleased to be supplying Gaskells with all their plastic wheeled bin requirements. We are thrilled to have them as one of our Key Accounts in the North, sharing a passion for the waste industry and also working on high profile events all around the North West and Wales. The Weber family and team were very pleased to invite them over to see first hand how their bins are made, and we are looking forward to a site visit in Bootle. From a personal point of view, it’s great to be working with Gaskells again, after working with them many years ago at a different business. It’s amazing to see the development that’s happened over the years with Gaskells, in terms of growth, process and service, but without losing that family feel. That family business aspect is something we hold very dearly at Weber”.
Our Commercial Director Denise Banks said: “We’re proud to work with Weber as supplier of all our wheelie bins for a number of reasons. Along with the high quality and durability of their bins, like us, they’re a family run business which has been built up through hard work. Their passion for the job shows, the service is second to none and they always put the customer first. Efficiency and fast turnaround time is another reason, within 4-6 weeks of us putting an order in our bins are ready and delivered, without compromising on quality. We’d like to thank the whole team at Weber for their invitation over to see the factory and find out how our bins are made. Their hospitality was fantastic, not only on the factory tour, but also on their tour of Dusseldorf by night. We look forward to returning the hospitality next time they’re in the UK”.