The Move Away from the Metal Litter Bin

A popular choice for waste management, and one of the most common sightings in communities across every county, the metal litter bin has been a reliable assistant in the fight to ward litter off the streets and keep public spaces clean for decades.

Metal Trash Can

Offering a range of benefits including strength and durability, metal has long been considered the ideal material for outdoor litter bins. However, in recent years, there has been a gradual shift away from traditional steel-based solutions, to polymer-based bins.

Scientific discoveries within the field of plastics, and developments in manufacturing techniques have made plastics more durable, stronger, sustainable, pliable, and cost-competitive compared to its cold counterpart.

A considerable factor that separates the two materials is the process of moulding. Through this process, plastic litter bins can be transformed into various shapes and sizes, offering a wider choice of styles and customisation.

So is this why more and more organisations are shifting away from the traditional?
We explore some of the common requirements and features of the modern litter bin to help explain why we believe organisations are opting for a polymer solution.


Jubilee 110 Outside Belfast Airport

Litter bins don't often receive the love they deserve and in their lifetime can be accidentally knocked and kicked – it's a hard life being a bin! For this reason, the unit needs to stay reliably intact and solid. Most metal bins aren’t brittle, they’re generally sturdy and robust under large loads, meaning the chances of breaking are greatly reduced. But, as previously mentioned, new techniques in design and manufacturing mean that plastics like Durapol™ material are abundantly stronger now. In addition, when polymer-based products are subject to minor impacts, they will retain their shape and limit the visual effects of the damage. On the other hand, metal may dent and even suffer damage to its applied coating, which could worsen over time through the spread of rust.

Manufactured with Durapol material, the Glasdon Jubilee™ 110 Litter Bin was the perfect solution for George Best Belfast City Airport.

Weather Resistance

Rust-be-gone! With the knocks and day-to-day wear and tear, metal can lose its shine easily, leading to areas of the surface becoming exposed to the elements. No one likes the sight of rusty metal, and as plastics such as Durapol™ are non-corrosive, oxygen and water won't plague it. Polymer-based products are also highly weather-resistant and will continue to function in above and below average temperatures and conditions. In addition, their self-coloured properties mean scratches will not become highlighted if scraped or grazed, unlike metal equivalent products.

Here at Glasdon, our highly durable polymer material Durapol, is used for nearly all our external and internal litter bins and recycle containers. This specially crafted material has been designed and tested in three specific quality control routines. We simulate extreme pressure to test the strength, temperature test through exposure to severe cold or heat, and lastly, we simulate UV light to test what effect sunlight has on the colour. These individual tests ensure our plastic-based products stand the test of time in almost any environment.

Dynamic Waste Management

Nexus 30 Recycling Bins

More shapes, sizes, and colours, who doesn't want that? Plastic litter bins come in a whole range of different dimensions, capacities, and designs, making them an attractive choice for use in outdoor and indoor areas too. They can fit into confined spaces, incorporate into various styled surroundings, and can be easily personalised to your waste management needs.

That's not to say you can't buy a styled, high-quality internal or external metal litter bin - you can, however, you will find more straight edges and box-shaped units. Remember, an ugly waste receptacle means a user might be less inclined to use it.

Through moulding techniques, plastic can be crafted into multiple shapes and designs, the possibilities are endless. Here at Glasdon, we design our bins to take full advantage of these benefits, offering a whole range of various-shaped plastic bins with an advanced list of customisable options. From coloured, moulded apertures and lids fit for the collection of various types of waste, through to eye-catching graphics to match a specific waste scheme or office layout. The more choice, the better!

Topsy Jubilee™ RSA Litter Bin by Glasdon - with smaller openingsGlasdon Jubilee™ 110 RSA Litter Bin by Glasdon - with smaller openings

Cleaning & Maintenance

Perhaps one of the most important factors when considering the material finish of an exterior bin is how easily it can be cleaned and maintained by the operator. This is where polymer solutions outperform metal. When metal rusts it can look unsightly and have a negative impact on its surroundings. On the other hand, plastic bins can be cleaned easily and retain an unblemished appearance for years. We recommend using just a soft bristle brush with a mild detergent in warm water or a warm pressure wash with soap to clean Glasdon Durapol based products.

And there's no doubt that plastic is a low-maintenance solution offering durability, vandal, and weather resistance - so it's less likely to need much attention at all.

Check out the resilience of the Glasdon Jubilee 110 Litter Bin in the product testing video here:


When considering the durability, low maintenance, and ease of cleaning and operation, commercial litter bins manufactured with a high-quality polymer such as Durapol really do hit the brief, helping to cut ongoing maintenance and replacement costs, and offering long-term value.

Environmental Impact

Last but certainly not of least importance is the environmental impact of the bin itself. Both metal and plastic are recyclable with the ability to be converted into more of the same product, or something entirely new. Extending our responsibility to the environment and reducing our dependency on raw materials we also strive to use high-quality recycled materials in the manufacture of our products. So not only do Glasdon litter bins have the ability to be recycled at the end of their long service life, our black Durapol material is also manufactured with 15% recycled material.

With the advancements in polymer technology, commercial litter bins, and recycling, plastic litter bins are considered to be exceeding the limits of the traditional metal bin solution.

If you would like to learn more about how Glasdon can help with your waste management please talk to us today.

01 July 2022
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