Saturday 8 May 2010

Binifresh - automatic hygiene device for wheelie bins

You've probably all seen those automatic air fresheners that you can buy that squirt out a quick whiff of lovely-smelling product at regular intervals to keep your room smelling fresh. Or those automatic air fresheners in public toilets that do their best to keep nasty smells at bay with a quick random blast of perfume.

Well, Binifresh works along the same lines, but in your wheelie bin instead of in a room. The summer isn't here yet but when the temperatures start soaring, people's binbags left festering in the heat can get really pongy. I dread to think what ours will be like this year with Pierre's toxic nappies, especially if the wheelie bins are only emptied once a fortnight or - perish the thought - the refuse-collectors go on strike again.

But Binifresh goes one better than that. It doesn't just make your bin smell nice (well, nicer), it actually kills the nasty bacteria that are lurking in there. Now, it's pretty obvious that bins are going to be dirty places full of hidden nasties but I was astounded to discover just how germ-ridden they are. The scary research by Binifresh revealed that "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 Enterobacteriaceae 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. "

Eeeek I don't think I'll ever ask the kids to throw anything in the wheelie bin ever again ! Pass the hand-sanitizer, quick ! You might (like me !) be cynically thinking that these results have probably been exaggerated by Binifresh who want to scare people into buying their products, but it was carried out by the University of Tel Aviv, using swabs from UK bins (and I bet they loved us Brits for sending them our disgusting bin samples !).

But that's not still not all ! We've covered the nasty pongs and the deadly germs, but your wheelie-bin still hasn't finished causing trouble ! Binifresh explain, "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."

Well, luckily, Binifresh does a good job of dealing with all of these problems. It's described as "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". The formula kills all bacteria within seconds and has a pleasant citronella scent. (I seem to think citronella is good at keeping mosquitos away too, which is an added bonus !)

When you pull it out of the box, it looks really complicated to attach to your bin, but if you read the little instruction booklet, it's actually a piece of cake and stays firmly in place, however rough the binmen are when they empty your rubbish ! It sprays every four hours (I'm always paranoid it's going to squirt me in the face whenever I put something in the bin now, but it hasn't happened yet !!) and is really well thought-out because a flashing red light will let you know when it’s time for a refill. You can also sign up on the Binifresh website and they'll send you a reminder when it's time to buy a refill.

Each aerosol lasts for three months so works out at just £1 a month. I'd say that's a small price to pay for peace of mind and a fresh-smelling bin that is less of a bio-hazard. Particularly if you have babies or elderly people in your house who are more prone to nasty germs. When you look at how much money people have started spending on hand sanitizers since the swine flu outbreak, I'd say this product should become a regular fixture on everyone's wheelie bins.

* scroll down for some simple tips to keep your wheelie bin clean(ish) and safe(ish) ! *

star rating : 5/5

RRP : £14.99, refills £2.99

Available from ASDA, Lakeland and selected John Lewis stores.

for more information :

Below are some top tips for good wheelie bin health, courtesy of Binifresh :

• Wash your hands after touching any bin
• Clean bin lids weekly with disposable cloths – focusing on any bin handles or buttons
• Avoid over filling your bins and always try to keep the lid flat
• Avoid leaving leftover food exposed to flies before putting it into the bin
• Double wrap kitchen and animal waste in re-used carrier bags or newspaper. Remove as much air as possible before sealing the bag
• Rinse all cans and bottles before placing in the bin
• Where possible, keep your bin out of direct sunlight
• Clean up spillages around your bin straight away
• Remember to leave your bin(s) in the correct position on the right day for collection
• Flies are attracted to odours and will lay their eggs in moist or decomposing material. They are especially attracted to materials with high protein content such as meat and fish
• Place newspaper at the bottom of your wheelie bin to prevent waste sticking to the bottom of your bin and soak up any moisture
• Use Binifresh in your wheelie bin, which makes controlling odours and vermin hassle free.

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