Product Reviews Blog

Bin Swab Tests Reveal Some Disturbing Facts

Jamie Smale - Thursday, April 23, 2015

Have you ever played the game “Would You Rather”?

I got one for you…

Would you rather eat your dinner off your toilet seat?


Sat beside an open bin that has not been emptied for a week?

The following research may help you answer this question…


Deadly Germs in your Kitchen Bin


How environmentally aware are you? Do you recycle as much as possible or consign all your rubbish to your wheelie bin oblivious to the effect your habits have on the planet? Maybe you live in a council area where waste collections have been reduced to fortnightly or even 4 weekly in a bid to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill sites, and so you have been forced to rethink your waste disposal methods. Whichever side of the environmental fence you are on, for most of us, when it comes to household waste, out of sight is out of mind. We put the rubbish in the bin, close the lid and move on. But what happens in the bin? We know it can’t be too clean in there, and we know it will smell a bit if the council don’t empty it for 2 or even 4 weeks.  Are you reassured by the Environmental experts employed by some councils who say there is no greater risk to the public health from fortnightly collections than from weekly? According to the Mail online, researchers from University of Northampton have reported that they found bacteria from the same family as that of the plague in bins emptied fortnightly. Yes that’s right THE plague! That got your attention didn’t it?


Bacteria Festering Near Where You Eat


Further tests show that a bin which gets emptied weekly has around 4 million bacteria on the test swab. Now to get this into perspective, your average toilet seat is estimated to produce around 500 bacteria on the same size test swab. So your weekly bin has 8000 times as much bacteria as your loo. What happens to the numbers if we leave that bin with its 4 million bacteria for another week? Double? Triple? Try this: leave that same bin for another week and the 4 million has become 240 million! Yes you read it right… 240 million bacteria, sitting a few feet away from where your children play, where you eat… aren’t you glad you asked?


The Bacteria in Your Kitchen Bin Grows Exponentially



This bacteria, how harmful can it really be? Well, you may not want to read this if you’re eating; the weekly bin, with its average household contents: nappies, dead flowers, food waste, packaging, sanitary waste contains more than enough bacteria of various strains to cause serious stomach upsets, 4 times the danger threshold for enterobacteriacea (causes stomach upsets) and 79 times in the case of e-coli (which can be fatal)!  But in defense of weekly bin collections, the levels of mould which causes food to rot and smell, is generally below the accepted danger threshold...small comfort when you consider that yeast levels which also cause rotting are double the danger threshold at over 2000 in the same bin. Now, the same bin, left for 2 weeks, takes these figures to a whole new level. 430 times the danger threshold for e-coli, 200 times for enterobacteriacea; yet we are expected to accept that this risk is not any greater than weekly emptied bins. It doesn’t end there – that extra week waiting to be collected raises yeast levels from 2000 to 32million, and mould levels from an acceptable 900 after a week to 20 million after 2 weeks. The difference this huge leap makes is in how much the discarded foodstuffs have rotted and the smell created. And of course it is smell which attracts vermin, so now there’s a whole new problem to deal with. Rats love bad smells, so a 2 week old bin full of food is irresistible to them, and rats carry disease. Wherever there are rats there is rat urine, and it could and probably is everywhere. Your paths, lawns, the bins themselves, garden furniture, toys left get the idea. This is serious sickness we’re talking here.  No matter how careful you are with hygiene, the risk is significant.


How to Reduce the Germ Fest and Cross Contamination from Your Bins


So what can you do? Well, you could burn your rubbish, releasing all those toxins into the air, to cause immense danger to anyone breathing in the fumes, and treat your neighbours to clouds of thick black smoke which might not make you too popular and would certainly lower the tone of the neighbourhood.  You could slip away in the night and tip your rubbish somewhere illegal, thus ‘passing the buck’ and if you get caught, gaining yourself a court appearance and a hefty fine. Or you could be a responsible citizen and simply wait for an election and vote out the councilors who champion fortnightly collections.

While we may be at the mercy of the ‘powers that be’ when it comes to how often our rubbish is removed, we can and should do what we can to minimize the risks. Our advice is to dispose of the waste carefully in the first place.


  • Don’t over-fill your kitchen bin as this will mean you will probably touch the rubbish when taking the bag out.  Filling the bin two thirds full will allow you plenty of bag to hold onto.
  • Don’t own a bin that is too big for your family.  It will take ages to fill.  If you are a family of 3 – you don’t need an 80L bin – go for a 42L instead.
  • Recycle as much as possible. There are some great bins on the market to make it easy for you.  You can buy a bin that has 2 compartments, one for waste and one for recycling, each with its own bin liner, so you don’t have 2 bins cluttering your kitchen.
  • Do NOT touch your waste bin. I bought a stainless steel bin with an automatic sensor in the lid, so I don’t even have to touch the lid of the bin!
  • Wrap any food or sanitary waste carefully before binning it, and make sure your bins have tight fitting lids.
  • If you are really keen on hygiene solutions and will go to any length then use 2 bin liners instead of 1
  • Be careful with hygiene; washing hands after touching the bins, putting toys away at night, washing hands before eating…all these things while obvious are none the less important.