A UK inventor has commissioned new research from Tel Aviv University which shows that fortnightly collections of rubbish, rather than weekly, will dramatically increase dangerous levels of potentially lethal bacteria.
Daniel Woolman is the inventor of Binifresh, an automatic hygiene and odour control device which fits into bins. He decided to act after the Audit Commission gave councils the go-ahead to introduce fortnightly bin collections as a way of saving money.
Mr Woolman said: "I had a contact at Tel Aviv and it was cheaper to do the work there than in Britain. I got swabs from bins in the south east and sent them. It was all fairly straightforward.
"I wasn't particularly surprised at the results because we've run similar tests before. I developed the product knowing this was a major issue, though it is quite concerning at how bad it was after two weeks."
Scientists at the university carried out the research in February. They found that levels of potentially deadly bacteria, such as E.coli, increased by 600 per cent during the two-week period proposed between bin collections.
If the bin was not emptied after two weeks, the levels of bacteria would continue to rise -– a worrying concern if binmen go on strike.
TAU microbiologist Dr Joseph Levin said: "The levels of disease-causing bacteria found in the bins are at a level that I would consider to be dangerous, especially to those with a weakened immune system, such as the elderly or young babies. It would be advisable for anyone to treat their bin as a hazard and wash their hands after touching it. If you do not follow this simple precaution, you or your family could become very sick."
A Local Government Association spokesman said that research had been carried out in 2007 but had found no evidence that introducing alternate weekly collections posed any threat to health. "People should take sensible precautions of always wrapping waste properly and making sure their bin lids are down," said the spokesman.