Dog bins?…or standard litter bin for dog mess


One of the more frequent requests I get on the doorstep is “can we have a dog poo bin at X or Y?”

One of the stumbling blocks about increasing Exeter City Council’s  complement of around 170 dog bins across the parks and open spaces throughout the city wasn’t the cost of the bins, or even emptying them – but the cost of disposing of the dog mess left in them.

That was because ECC had to transport the contents of these bins to Newton Abbot for disposal.

This meant a round trip of roughly 1.5 hours, depending on traffic, including tipping and weighing in/out. The  journey had to be made 3 times per week. The cost of running this service (labour, fuel, wear & tear) were somewhere in the region of £5,460 per year per van and at one stage ECC had two vans running this journey. Gate fees were picked up by Devon County Council as the waste disposal authority.

The situation has changed since the Energy Reclamation Facility opened in Marsh Barton last year.  As a result of this, dog mess can be used in any litter bin around the city’s streets.

Dog waste is now mixed with other street litter waste and  taken to the Energy from Waste [EfW] plant for incineration – with the resultant decrease in disposal costs – DCC still pick up the gate fees.

ECC are encouraging people to put their dog waste into standard litter bins if a  special dog bin isn’t available, as this minimises the need for more street furniture on the pavements and outside homes. We advertise this by way of a sticker on litter bins where we are seeing dog mess not picked up. It helps to reinforce the message that they can use a litter bin if they wish.

I hope these new arrangements don’t cause more stink than the waste!



Clean It Up label1 (3)

And don’t forget, leaving dog mess lying around is not only anti-social and irresponsible – it also leaves the dog owner liable for a fixed penalty notice.

New eco-graffiti on Newman Road
New eco-graffiti on Newman Road


And it’s not only council enforcement officers that can issue fixed penalty notices – the team of PCSOs have be suitably trained and are now empowered to hand out these notices.

Dog bins for the Green Circle?

Over the weekend I spoke to several residents along Nadder Park Road, and many mentioned that the pathway of the Green Circle Walk was often subject to dog fouling.

They also mentioned that this could be because there were no dog bins on the route.

It’s always a little simplistic to say they is a correlation between no dog bins and the amount of mess.

It would be easy to say that the lack of a dog bin is the reason why there is dog fouling left by some dog walkers but sadly this is not true – the availability of a dog bin does not in anyway guarantee that all dog walkers will behave in a responsible manner and put their dog waste in it.

Many dog walkers have said that if they have walked past a dog bin and their dog then defecates, they will not walk back to the dog bin to put the waste in. What they will do is bag up the waste, then dump the filled bag anywhere–for example the ECC dog warden has had complaints from wheelie bin owners finding bags of dog poo in them, full bags dumped in peoples gardens, left on the car roofs etc etc.

Dog fouling left around is the result of anti-social and irresponsible dog owners. The good ones pick up their dog’s mess whether there is a bin or not – if these’s a bin, they use it; it not, they take it home to dispose it.

One of the residents in particular mentioend that she had been in contact with the Council and when she mentioned the 3 bins on the POS of Dunsford Gardens was told “that there could be no more bins provided because of the inceration costs of the mess“.

She also got the impression that the only way bins could be provided on thisfootpath would be to remove them from elsewhere.

There is some truth in this impression – currently ECC have to transport the deposits from our dog bins to a Newton Abbot landfill site for disposal. This means a roughly 1.5 hour round trip, depending on traffic conditions and including weighing in/out, three times a week. The running costs of this (including labour, fuel and wear & tear) are in the region of £5k a year per van. At times, ECC have 2 vans running this journey.

Another resident commented that ECC don’t seem to be as proctive about dog fouling as Teignbirdge District Council. They had very clear messages when she left the area 3 years ago and hasn’t been as aware of such messages here in Exeter.

When I put this to ECC’s dog warden, she commented that the Council are very proactive with regard to dog fouling in Exeter.
There are several Council Officers authorised to issue Fixed Penalty Notices to irresponsible dog walkers and these officvers these patrol the city on a daily basis.
Anyone caught failing to pick up dog waste is issued with a fixed  penalty notice for £75.00. If this is not paid within the 14 day allowance time, the matter is then referred by ECC to the Magistrate Court, where the  fine can be increased by the Magistrate at any amount up to and including the maximum of £1000.
Historically we have embarked on a high profile commitment to raise awareness in Exeter about cleaning up and being a responsible dog owner. There were road shows, television interviews and competitions
Sadly not all dog walkers took note.
This is reflected when a dog walker is issued with a fixed penalty notice as many dog walkers, when caught say they know they should pick up, but don’t bother unless they see a council officer –they know we cannot be in one place all the time and take advantage of that fact.

All this said, I’ve been advised that the areas of concern will be inspected to see about the possible installation sites for a dog bin.