Waste firm trying to stop rough sleepers being killed in bins
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Health and also in Communities, Housing
Waste and recycling company Biffa is taking action to try and prevent deaths among homeless people who sleep in bins.
The firm has teamed up with StreetLink, a telephone line and website which enables the public to help connect rough sleepers to local services, to raise awareness of the issue.
Biffa drivers are trained to check the waste containers of their 60,000 commercial customers and last year reported over 20 incidents of finding individuals sleeping in bins.
Last September, rough sleeper Ranjit Singh was crushed to death by a recycling plant's machinery after the Smethwick bin he was sleeping in was collected.
“The aim of the joint communications campaign with StreetLink is three-fold,” explains Tim Standring, Biffa’s divisional safety, health, environment and quality coach. “We are seeking to raise awareness of the issue; highlight the dangers amongst rough sleepers of seeking shelter in bins; and to encourage waste management workers and their customers to contact StreetLink if they are concerned about someone sleeping rough.”
Biffa is also hosting a press conference at waste management event RWM to launch a piece of research which it says will provide a real idea of the scale of the issue across the waste industry.
Matt Harrison, director of the StreetLink, which is run by the charities Broadway Homelessness and Support and Homeless Link, said: “Sleeping rough is unsafe, bad for your health and many people do not know about services that could help. Individuals, understandably, do whatever they can to find shelter but sleeping in bins is obviously dangerous. We hope this partnership will help prevent more deaths and raise awareness of the practical action we can all take."
If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough, please contact StreetLink on 0300 500 0194.