HOW CLEAN IS YOUR BIN?
New research released today from hygiene company Binifresh shows that dangerous levels of killer bacteria are present in the UK’s wheelie bins.
Two weeks between bin collections means UK families are exposed to alarmingly high amounts of potentially lethal bacteria.
Scientists found that levels of E. coli and other Enterobacteriaceae – a group of bacteria which includes nasties such as Salmonella and the bacteria which causes the plague – increased by 600% during the fortnight between bin collections.
Disease-causing bacteria present in wheelie bins include E. coli, which can lead to gastroenteritis, meningitis and septicaemia; Staphylococcus aureus (Staph), which causes wound infections; and others from the Enterobactericeae family, many strains of which cause chronic stomach infections. In addition, fungal spores were found from Apergillus niger, which can trigger chronic lung and ear infections, and Candida albicans – which causes both minor ailments including thrush, and Systemic Candidosis which can be fatal.
A scientific definition of cleanliness is measured at 155 bacteria per square cm. However, scientists found test bins to contain bacterial counts of many millions per square centimetre making them dangerously filthy.
Even if E. coli is present in the tiniest of quantities it can cause illness – and with readings of 13.3 million per sq cm found in the sample bins, the potential risk is considerable.
Enterobacteriaceae levels rose to 128 million per sq cm after two weeks.
If the bin is not emptied after two weeks, the levels of bacteria will continue to rise – a worrying concern in areas with striking binmen.
Key findings below - full findings in the downloadable document
• Two weeks between bin collections means that families are exposed to alarmingly high levels of lethal bacteria
• The levels of E. coli and Enterobactericeae (the family of bacteria that includes salmonella and the bacteria which causes the plague) increased by 600%
• E. coli being present in the tiniest amount can cause illness – but readings were found of 13.33 million bacteria per square centimetre
Waiting two weeks between bin collections saw the following rate of bacterial increase between days seven and fourteen.
• Between days seven and fourteen levels of Staph went up 130% (Staph causes wound infections, skin abscesses, septicaemia and impetigo)
• E. coli increased by 82%
• Psudomonas aeruginosa went up 71% (This bacteria causes inflammation and sepsis, can be potentially fatal).
Commenting on the research, Dr Joseph Levin, microbiologist from the University of Tel Aviv, says: “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.”
In addition to harbouring dangerous levels of bacteria and fungal spores, wheelie bins are also a magnet for rats, foxes and other disease-carrying vermin.
Daniel Woolman, managing director, Binifresh , says: “It’s no secret that bins are a breeding ground for germs – the staggering levels of bacteria and dangerous micro-organisms found in the average household bin is cause for concern for every family. It’s something most people would not give a second thought to, and yet it is something most of us come into contact with every other day."
The research was carried out by the University of Tel Aviv in February 2010 using swabs from UK bins. Full findings are in the downloadable document along with top tips on good bin hygiene.
Binifresh is a battery-powered unit which sprays your bin with an antibacterial, germ-busting, odour-neutralising formula to make sure it stays hygienic and clean between bin collections.
Fix the unit, simply and permanently inside your bin and the formula will be sprayed every four hours – leaving your bin hygienic and smelling fresh. The formula kills all bacteria within seconds.
Each aerosol lasts for three months and has a pleasant citronella scent. A flashing red light will let you know when it’s time for a refill.
Binifresh RRP £14.99, refills £2.99. Available from ASDA, Lakeland and selected John Lewis stores.
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HOW CLEAN IS YOUR BIN?