Review of "Hippo Bag"

published 26/04/2004 | xalala
Member since : 23/05/2003
Reviews : 72
Members who trust : 31
About me :
Good
Pro Cheaper than a skip, more convenient, easy to use
Cons May have to wait for collection, bags only available in a few places
very helpful
Service efficiency
Care taken with possessions
Competitiveness of charges
Value for money

" Hippo-ly, our rubbish has gone! Nearly."

Over the Easter weekend this year, we decided that it would be a great idea to build a nice raised bed down one side of our back garden. All well and good, but it involved moving the shed (and painting it blue, but that's another story...) into another corner of our small urban paradise.

So, we waded in and created a new base for the shed, moved it to it's new position and started to remove the slabs it had been on previously.

TWO TONNES of rubble later, we were beginning to wonder where we were going to put it all. The original plan of breaking it up and leaving it in the raised bed for drainage didn't look so clever once the heap was higher than the planned bed...

Enter the Hippo Bag!

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About the Bag
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Hippo Bags are available in two sizes, midi (1 metre cube) and mega (1.5m long x 1m wide x 1m high). Both, however, are limited to holding one tonne of material. The Hippo Bag website (www.hippobag.co.uk) gives guidelines on how much a tonne is depending on what type of waste you're filling the bags with.

The RRP is from £7.99 for the midi bag, although we paid £8.99 for ours from Homebase. Expect to pay from £10.99 for the mega bag.

The bags are made from very strong, bright yellow plastic canvas with the Hippo Bag office phone number printed down the side - this is the number you need to call to arrange collection once your bags are full, so it's useful having it so visible - and good advertising for the company too, I imagine!

There's a small sheet of information stitched to the bag that has information about how much waste you can put in your bag, depending on its type - it's the same information as on the website, but may be more useful as you don't want to be tramping mucky boots over clean carpet on the way to your computer to consult the webpage.

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Finding a stockist
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Visiting the website and clicking on the stockists link lets you find your local stockist. The list is searchable, but the functionality isn't very good. The searches are done by postcode and if, like me, you live on the edge of more than one postcode area, you need to search both to find the closest. Also when you click the Go button, it sometimes looks like it's taken you to the wrong results - you may need to scroll up slightly to see the answer you wanted.

Our nearest stockist (that was still open at 4.30pm on Easter Saturday...) was our local Homebase store. Which is outside of our home postcode area, so I was glad I searched other ones in addition to our own.

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Buying the Bag
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Hippo Bags are available from a number of retailers, including Homebase (where we got ours), HSS Hire Shops, Focus DIY, Wickes, Travis Perkins and various smaller, local or independent shops. However not all stores within a chain will have the bags, as the facility is limited to "southern counties". Quite what counts as a southern county, I couldn't tell you, so it would be worth contacting the company before getting a bag if you live anywhere north of, say, Watford (the historic start of "the north" ;o) ).

In Homebase, we found the bags over in the timber/building section, on the end of an aisle. Since that's roughly where I was expecting to find it, it caused us no problems.

The bags come folded up in small (around 14" square), flat plastic bags. They're see through, so it's easy to see the bright yellow Hippo Bag itself within. Because they are sold like this, it would be very easy to acquire them and store until needed, they would take up hardly any space at all.

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Filling the bag
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The Hippo Bag motto is "You bag it, We'll bin it" - so don't expect them to turn up and help you out!

First, make sure you've read the instructions on where to position your bags. They have to be within 4 metres of a 3 metre public highway, so that the lorry and crane can get access when it's time to collect them. Also, you need to make sure that there's no overhead obstructions (power lines etc).

It's actually quite easy to fill the bag. The recommended method to start with is to roll down the sides of the bag - this not only makes access easier (you can tip wheelbarrows of stuff into it without having to lift them), it also gives it more structural integrity, so the sides don't collapse in on themselves and get in the way.

Guidelines on filling the bags that Hippo Bag give:

1 tonne of heavy soil = 2/3 midi bag or 1/2 mega bag
1 tonne of rubble = 3/4 midi bag or 2/3 mega bag
1 tonne of builders waste = level midi bag or 3/4 mega bag

Since our waste was mainly rubble, we 3/4 filled two midi bags.

HINT: make sure you've positioned your bags before you put *anything* in them. If you move the bags when filled or part filled, you risk damaging or tearing them - in which case, they won't be taken away.

If a bag weighs more than a tonne when it's collected, there may be an excess charge applied - the actual charge is not specified.

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Getting rid of the bags
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When you've filled the bags with your waste and they're ready to be taken away, you call the number printed on the side - with your credit or debit card handy - and you will be put down for a collection within 5 working days.

During the call, you have to give your address and specify both where the bags are positioned, and what type of waste they're filled with. They also take a phone number to contact you in case there are any problems while they're trying to

The cost of collection for midi bags is £29 for the first bag, and £25 for any bags after that (collected at the same time). For mega bags, the cost if £39 for the first, £35 for any subsequent.

These charges only apply in "southern counties" - so best to check before you use the bags, I think.

The bags may be collected at any time between 8am and 8pm, 7 days a week apparently, so you have to ensure access to wherever they are whether anyone is present or not.

Having said all that, I called on the Tuesday following Easter to arrange collection. It's now 11 (ish) working days later and our collection still hasn't been made. This has, apparently, been caused by a couple of problems. First, someone accidentally marked our address as having had its collection, and we only discovered this a few days ago. Second, it's been much busier than usual because of the time of year (Easter and May bank holidays are when statistically you're most likely to be doing DIY). Finally, the sub-contractor in our area has one less vehicle than usual due to a breakdown. I'm told that Chris (whoever he is) will be showing up within the next 3 days to remove our bags...

Update: He turned up the day I wrote this review! Rubbish now vanished without a trace, hurrah!

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Other information
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The website can be found at http://www.hippobag.co.uk

The phone number to speak to them is 0845 850 0 850 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm).

There are special offers for trade users available, they are able to bulk-buy Hippobags from some trade suppliers.

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The stars
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Hippo Bag get a rather miserly 3 stars from me.

They would have got another star if they had managed to pick the bags up, as promised, within 5 working days. The other star was deducted for the poor search functionality of their website when trying to find stockists.

Of the ratings, the one about "care taken with possessions" doesn't apply, so ignore that.

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Comments on this review

  • review1980 published 14/09/2004
    What a great product!! I too had been searching the Internet for ideas on how to best get rid of my garden waste and was lucky enough to stumble across this excellent review. I didn't really want to fill my car up with loads of dirt and grass, so I thought about hiring a skip but after the horror stories I had heard from my friends and family I was very keen to avoid getting one. When I read this review I just had to try one. I went to my local Homebase and sure enough there in front of me was a big yellow stand full of hippobags, I purchased the midi bag. I took it home and opened it up; it was larger than I had expected - plenty of room for all my rubbish. I phoned Hippo to arrange the collection and the lady I spoke to was very polite and helpful, she took my credit card details (the whole lot only cost about £45). They confirmed that they would collect within 5 working days. The bag was collected in 4 days which was great, and I was lucky enough to see the lorry come and pick it up. It was a very smart looking lorry and in keeping with everything else was very very yellow! Like the lady on the call centre the driver was also very polite. Smiling to myself thinking about the trouble I would have had should I have chosen a skip instead - I can recommend this service to anyone and everyone!
  • SRowlands published 08/08/2004
    A Diamond-worthy review !! I was actually researching this for a friend, and your review has proved invaluable. I think he'll 'skip' the skip, and bag a bag !! Scott
  • Zaphoid published 20/06/2004
    Are diamonds your best friends now? Congratulations on your win. I did not realise that this was an esteemed review until I had rated it and saw the comments. Dave
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Product Information : Hippo Bag

Manufacturer's product description

Ciao

Listed on Ciao since: 26/04/2004