THE REPLACEMENT of wheelie bins, the ubiquitous plastic container without which rubbish recovery cannot be undertaken, has cost cash strapped Angus Council £20,000 in the last two years.
Figures released by the authority show that the majority are damaged while being emptied, but vandalism and wheelie bin thefts are also on the increase.
A total of 779 bins were damaged or stolen last year, a substantial increase from the previous year when 662 were affected.
Arbroath had 97 wheelie bins stolen and 27 bins across Angus were set on fire.
In 2008/09 Angus Council replaced 476 bins at an average cost of £19 per unit, which make up a bill of about £9,044.
Last year, 570 bins were replaced at an average cost of £20.50 for a total cost of £11,685.
Councillor Bob Spink commented: “Nothing much can be done about damage during use because of the way vehicles empty them.
“Inevitably there will be damage but wilful damage like setting fires or theft can be added to the list of vandalism that we have to put up with.
“Almost everything we do nowadays has to have a ‘vandalism factor’ costed in and that is disgraceful
“I quite agree with the sentiment that it is something that shouldn’t happen, but if something is left unattended and in an obvious place then in this day and age you can almost be sure that it can be vandalised.”
He went on: “This comes up time and time again. The council spends time fixing up playparks, replacing missing wheelie bins, repairing vandalism to park benches of pulled out hedges ... just destruction because of wanton vandalism.
“It is symptomatic of society. I would encourage anyone who sees this happening to report it.
“Somebody damaging a wheelie bin might not seem like a lot, but it is a cost to the council and it all adds up.
“Vandalism is a state of mind and it shouldn’t happen.”
A spokesperson for Angus Council commented: “It has cost Angus Council £20,000 in the last two years to replace wheelie bins which have been lost stolen or damaged.
“Previously we had varying rules covering charging of householders for replacement bins, but now we only charge if there has been negligence.
“We would be pleased to hear from any member of the public who comes across abandoned bins which we can recover.”