So an announcement by Shetland Council that it was proposing to introduce wheelie bins for household rubbish raised concerns that they too would fly away.
Now, after dozens of complaints, the council has responded with a video demonstation to show people how to prevent their wheelie bins joining the detritus being picked up and blown away by the wind.
The video shows the best method of securing wheelie bins in place using bungee cords to anchor them and screwing the bins to walls and fences.
Worried islanders can access the video on the council website.
But even some councillors have expressed reservations about the introduction of wheelie bins, starting in March 2018.
Councillor Andrea Manson said: “I can think of many, many people who will not be able to fix down their wheelie bins and they will fly away. It’s going to be a nightmare – be warned.”
Every household will get two wheelie bins (one for paper and cardboard and one for cans, cartons and plastics) which will be collected every other week.
Island resident Michael Inkster said: “Fences, similar to the one that wheelie bin was attached to in the demonstration, can often be blow down in severe winter gales, so I’m not convinced that a single rubber cord is a good solution”
“I cannot have them because they blow away,” said Tricia Parham from Maywick.
“We have got one of those sand boxes – a big plastic one with the lid – but it blew away so I had to tie it to the fence. Trampolines blow away down with us.”
Jimmy Laurenson, 70, from Walls, said: “We’re getting force eight, nine, 10 winds – it’s no joke. They would have to be well anchored down, I would think.”
Mr Laurenson added that the bins would be particularly difficult for elderly people to handle.
He said: “I live out in the country and where I live it’s a very windy spot and I am about 350 metres off the main road [where the bins are collected]. It’s just the big bins that might be a problem getting down the road. It’s a gravelly track and I am not getting any younger.”
SIC team leader of waste management Colin Bragg said: “There are minor wheelie bin problems but nothing insurmountable.”
He said there are three main issues which have been raised most often by members of the public.
The first is the impact of strong wind and the risk that some people will not be able to tether their bins in place. “Something as simple as a bungee cord can be wrapped around your bin – and you can put another one on your lid – so we are suggesting things like that to people. That would only cost about £3 to get one of those bungee cords,” he said.
Mr Bragg added that an “assisted uplift scheme” was being drawn up and, when finalised, this would mean anyone needing help moving their bins would get it.