The installation of six eco-friendly smart bins in North Berwick has been proposed by a community group to tackle the town’s litter problem.

Sustaining North Berwick, a community group interested in sustainable, ecological living and acting locally, has proposed the idea that would see new Big Belly Bins spread throughout the town.

Big Belly Bins are smart bins with built-in technology that help reduce waste and have already proven a success in places such as Aberdeen, where litter had become a problem.

Working in collaboration with many local groups, the plan would see six themed bins placed around North Berwick’s tourist hotspots, where overflowing rubbish and hungry seagulls can leave undesirable amounts of litter.

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The bins would also be technologically advanced, telling council officials when they are full to ease the issue of collection while containing preventative measures to keep local wildlife out.

Two similar smart bins are already present in the town, originally installed by the council, but the new upgraded examples will hope to offer more than just a place to put rubbish.

Proposals would also help make the bins a tourist attraction in themselves, with local artists painting each one in the style of a seabird with a QR code trail that would encourage visitors to see all the bins while learning more about famous seabirds.

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Ruth Hunter Pepper, chair of Sustaining North Berwick, gave an outline of how the bins might look and how they would help the local problem.

She said: “Sustaining North Berwick arranged a meeting involving East Lothian Council, North Berwick In Bloom, Scottish Seabird Centre, North Berwick Community Council, Caledonian Horticulture and North Berwick Coastal Area Partnership representatives hosted by Steampunk to discuss possible solutions to North Berwick’s particular challenge.

“After a good deal of discussion, we decided that Big Belly Bins which have 10 times the capacity of regular bins and send electronic alerts to notify their need to be emptied, would be an ideal solution.

“The bins would be situated in key areas and replace the current bins.

“In order to make the proposed change interesting, attractive and informative to locals and visitors alike, we decided a bin trail featuring seabirds would work well – we will collaborate with the Scottish Seabird Centre on this and are also involving local artists.”

The majority of the funding for the project – which is thought to cost in the region of £29,000 – is now in place and it is hoped that they could be installed in the spring next year.

Ruth added: “East Lothian Council do not have the budget to buy and maintain these bins, as they are far more costly than usual bins, but were keen to support this initiative.

“Sustaining North Berwick, together with North Berwick Community Council and with input from the Scottish Seabird Centre, have taken the initiative forward and applied for funding to purchase the new bins and maintenance packages for the council, who will manage the operation going forward.

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“With generous funding from North Berwick Trust, St Andrew Blackadder Church and North Berwick Community Council, we have very nearly reached our fundraising target.

“I’m in the process of trying to raise the remaining funds and we are speaking to various local artists about creating the decorative vinyls.

“We very much hope to have the bins in situ by spring 2023.”

An East Lothian Council spokesperson said: “The council is supportive of this proposal by Sustaining North Berwick, who are sourcing the required funds for these additional bins.

“If they’re successful, the council will identify appropriate locations and service and maintain them.”