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Ards And North Down

New Solar-Powered Compacting Bins Installed in Ards and North Down

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Trevor Cummings, with one of the new solar-powered compacting bins in Bangor. Photo Credit: Graham Baalham-Curry

Ards and North Down Borough Council has installed more than 20 brand new solar-powered compacting bins, becoming the first Council in Northern Ireland to install the latest technology in high-tech bins.

Following a successful trial of three similar bins in 2019 – an initiative that was financed by the Council’s innovative Recycling Community Investment Fund – the Council secured funding from the Department for Communities for an additional 22 state-of-the-art bins that have now been installed across the Borough’s town centres.

Thanks to their automatic compacting ability, the 240 litre bins can store up to 20-times more waste compared to standard bins. They also have the ability to send an electronic message to the Council when they are ready to be emptied, resulting in less collections, lower collection costs and less emissions.

In addition, the fully-enclosed design means they are bird and vermin-proof, they can be operated using a foot pedal, and the bins can log how many times they have been used, giving the Council an opportunity to identify the busiest areas.

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Trevor Cummings, said:

“This is a great investment for Ards and North Down. The bins are powered by 100% renewable solar energy so they have zero running costs and they will help to eliminate any unsightly overflowing bins. They will help to keep our public areas clean and they are better for our environment.”

The Chair of the Council’s Environment Committee, Councillor Gillian Greer, said:

“Our new solar-powered compacting bins will make an invaluable contribution to the quality of local visual amenity and environmental protection. They are a great addition to our Borough and combined with the seasonal litter bins that are already in place, they will encourage residents and visitors to Ards and North Down to responsibly dispose of their waste.”

The solar-compacting bins can be found in all of the Borough’s town centres:


  • Pickie Fun Park
  • High Street
  • Bridge Street (x2)
  • Main Street (x3)


  • The Square (x2)
  • Bridge Street


  • The Parade (x2)
  • New Street
  • High Street


  • High Street (x3)


  • Conway Square (x3)
  • Frances Street
  • Regent Street

The new bins will complement those already in place throughout the Borough, including a selection of 25 seasonal litter bins that have been installed at high-footfall locations until the end of August.

Ards And North Down

Schools Encouraged to Enter ‘In Bloom’ Best School Garden Project

The outgoing Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Trevor Cummings, was pictured during the final days of his 2020-21 Mayoral term with West Winds Primary School students Cooper, Riley, Isabella and Aamiyah. Photo Credit: Ian Pedlow

Schools in Ards and North Down are being invited to enter a new category in the Ards and North Down In Bloom competitions for the Best School Garden Project!

The competition provides a great opportunity for green-fingered students to take part in a valuable learning and skills sharing project in their school’s garden. It is open to all schools across the Borough, and students are being encouraged to work together to compete for the coveted award that offers prizes for the best projects.

The new category will encourage more young students to learn about gardening. The popular pastime has many benefits and can help children with their development as well as being an excellent educational tool.

By taking part in the competitions, schools will not only make their grounds more attractive but they will also contribute to the Borough’s entry into the Translink Ulster in Bloom competition and other regional awards. Entries are open until 30 September so there is plenty of time for schools to prepare their gardens before an expert panel of judges decide who has the Best School Garden Project in Ards and North Down.

The Council’s In Bloom campaign and community competitions were officially launched at the end of April. Other competitions for young gardeners include a Tallest Sunflower Competition, Painting Competition, and Young Volunteer of the Year.

For those over the age of 16, categories include Best Kept Front Garden, Gardening for Wildlife, Best Kept Commercial Premises, Best Kept Community Planting Scheme and Volunteer of the Year.

The competitions are free to enter and prizes are available for the winners and runners-up in each. For more information, visit

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Ards And North Down

Council’s Innovative Recycling Fund Supports College’s Green Initiatives

(L-R) SERC Enterprise team Lizzie Buick, Jake Collyer, Karen McCartan, Charlotte Buick, Stephen Addy (Ards and North Down Borough Council), Natasha Lloyd, Rachel Innes, Megan Rollins and Dearbhla Knight.

Ards and North Down Borough Council’s innovative recycling fund has successfully supported environmental projects headed by students at South Eastern Regional College (SERC).

The Council’s Recycling Community Investment Fund (RCIF) provided funding to support the SERC Student Enterprise company ‘Don’t Bird It, Bin It’ and the college’s ongoing green initiatives.

‘Don’t Bird It, Bin It’ is an environmental project that was created to tackle the plastic waste problem through education. RCIF funding helped students offer an educational package tailored for local primary schools. This included visual aids and resources to demonstrate how detrimental plastic is to wildlife and eco-system.

Stephen Addy, the Council’s Head of Regulatory Services, said:

“The RCIF is powered by the recycling efforts of local residents and businesses. It costs the Council half as much to recycle waste compared to the cost of sending it to landfill. Thanks to an increased amount of recycling by the local community, the savings allowed the Council to create the RCIF which supports new and existing environmentally friendly initiatives such as excellent work being carried out by SERC’s students.”

Lizzie Buick, Deputy Head of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at SERC, said:

“With funding from Ards and North Down Borough Council’s RCIF, the Enterprise and Estates Departments at SERC were able to install 35 internal and four external recycling bins across our Bangor, Ards and Holywood campuses. The team also ran an internal competition for students to create art that would be displayed on the bins that encouraged recycling both on campus and in the local community. The recycling bins are part of a wider programme to build on our green credentials across the College.”

For more information about recycling in Ards and North Down, visit

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