Businesses from across the retail industry are being encouraged to sign up to a new joint initiative to tackle the potentially deadly issue of people using refuse containers for shelter.

More than 10 people have died in this country during the past five years after containers in which they’d sought shelter overnight were emptied into waste trucks.

Now the UK waste industry, led by Biffa, Veolia and B&M Waste Services, has met for the first time and committed to work together in order to help save lives through increased education and co-operation.

Leading figures from the three waste management companies met in Birmingham with representatives from the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, the Environmental Services Association and the Health and Safety Executive for the inaugural meeting of this dedicated Industry Steering Group.

Tim Standring, Biffa’s divisional health, safety, environment and quality coach, said: "Even though we’ve increased training and awareness over the past two years and discovered more people in our bins, tragically fatalities are still occurring across our industry.

"But there is a wider responsibility beyond simply the waste companies it needs a holistic approach from all sectors and stakeholders including our customers, local authorities and the general public."

The People in Bins Steering Group has committed to meeting in the New Year to agree the details of the industry-wide initiatives and is calling on businesses from across the retail industry to get involved.