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Where Did The Wheelie Bin Come From?

Wheelie bins are one of the largest household objects that nearly everyone has several of, in multiple different colours, to help sort out and dispose of recycling correctly.

However, the history of what has become a rubbish waste clearance institution is surprisingly long, complex and up for dispute, and may have its origins before the existence of civilisation itself.

Prehistoric paintings found in caves in the Himalayas depict wheeled containers that are believed to have been used to contain excess bones taken from hunts.

As well as this, among the many other fossilised remains discovered in Pompeii was found a wheeled container, which has been assumed by historians to be a wheelie bin.

The first modern wheeled waste containers take the form of the larger skip bin or dumpster created by Dempster Brothers Inc.

Intended for company use only for their construction firm, the large metal wheeled container could be moved around much easier than lifting smaller heavy bins and could be automatically emptied.

This concept was so popular that other construction companies wanted them, and soon the Dempster brothers quit construction altogether to produce dumpsters.

Eventually, the concept would get smaller and make it to the UK with a rather similar story.

In the early 20th century, dustbins were heavy cylinders of metal with separate lids to them, which made them exceptionally difficult to move when they were full. This was bad for residents but worse for bin collectors who regularly suffered from back injuries.

The solution was invented by Frank Rotherham Mouldings in 1968, which was a bin with two wheels that could be pivoted and moved around the factory.

However, a highly impressed health and safety inspector took notice of the idea, although it would take until the 1980s for wheelie bins to become the standard for waste collection.

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