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Giant bins tackle litter on the M6

It costs taxpayers £40 per sack of rubbish that is collected on the motorway Photo: Highways England

Giant bins are being installed at motorway services on the M6 in the North West in a bid to reduce littering.

Highways England is providing the bins after over 40,000 sacks of rubbish had to be collected from motorways in the region last year.

That's an average of 108 sacks for every mile of motorway - costing taxpayers around £40 for each one collected.

The bins are part of a North West litter initiative, which also involves trialling new signs that read ‘Workers lives are put at risk picking your litter’, and carrying out extra litter picking patrols.

Two different sizes are being installed next to Give Way lines at the exit to service area car parks.

This will let both car and lorry drivers reach the bins from the window of their vehicles.

The bins range from 1.8 to 2.2 metres high Credit: Highways England

Highways England says:

We’re committed to tackling littering on our network and are installing the funnel bins at service areas in the North West. The bins offer another opportunity for road users to dispose of their rubbish responsibly within service areas.

Our teams of workers do a fantastic job removing litter from motorways every year, but we’d much rather they were able to spend more of their time carrying out maintenance work.

The new giant funnel bins will make it much easier for drivers to get rid of their litter as they won’t need to leave their vehicles, and I’d urge drivers to either use the bins on the network or to take their litter home with them.”

Litter poses a risk to other drivers if it lands on windscreens, causes a threat to wildlife, and leads to flooding if drains become blocked.

Rubbish has to be collected close to fast-moving traffic which puts workers at risk.

Lane closures are often needed to safely collect the litter and this causes disruption to drivers.

It costs roughly the same as fixing a pothole as it does to collect one sack of rubbish Credit: Highways England

46-year-old Paul Cooper, from Bolton, has been collecting litter from motorways in the North West for 19 years:

I think most drivers who sling litter out their windows don’t really think about what they’re doing, and that someone like me has to come along and clear up after them.

It tends to be worst on slip roads or where there’s standing traffic, as that’s when drivers seem to decide to have a clear out of their cars.

There’s always an element of risk when you’re working on the network as you’re near traffic so my message to drivers is please stop dropping litter and use the bins or take it home with you instead.”

– Paul Cooper, Maintenance Worker, Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald

The bins are being installed at around a dozen service areas in the North West over the next few months.