Croydon in 2012: the Garbage Gallery

Mar 1: UPDATE 7: We’ll let this picture, of Croydon in 2012, tell a thousand words.

And this example of side-street dumping, remember, is before the council starts raising charges for disposing of large waste items. Out of shot are a couple of old mattresses and divans.

Laud Street, central Croydon, Feb 28, 2012

Feb 21: UPDATE 6: The slowdown in updates to this Hall of Infamy from the dirty streets of Croydon is not because they are getting cleaned any better, nor because people’s wheelie bins, now only due to be emptied once a fortnight, are over-spilling any less. It’s just that we here at Inside Croydon have had just too much other material to offer you lately.

So where were we?

Well, the impending axing of a number of the council’s Street Scene Officers in the next few weeks could make the random dumping of rubbish on our streets all the worse, since there will not be anyone from Croydon Council actively monitoring the state of our streets. It will all be down to you, dear reader, to ensure that you log your complaints to the council’s helpline:

020 8686 4433

From Inside Croydon Towers, this heap of rubbish has been seen festering on the street for the past two weeks.

South Croydon, February 2012

We reported the dumped rubbish a fortnight ago. Since then, a fairly disengaged roadsweeper has pushed his cart past the pile a couple of times, poking and prodding here and there. But the rubbish remains.

Who dumped it there? Why? And why is it still there after such a long period of time?

South Croydon, February 19, 2012

One part of the answer might be because the first pile of crap is on a residential side road, it is out of sight, out of mind as far as Croydon Council is concerned.

The rubbish pile in the second picture – apparently comprising domestic rubbish and packaging – was left out within a day of the regular weekly refuse collection, literally on the doorsteps of a couple of shop and flats, and on a busy main road. The council – and Council Tax-payers – incurred the cost of someone being called out to clear up someone else’s mess and it was gone within 24 hours.

The problems for Croydon Council, and residents, continue to pile up, together with the rubbish, even in the Shangri-la of the leafier suburbs such as Selsdon and Shirley.

The recent bad weather meant that for some roads, the wheelie bin collections were missed at the start of the month. In the past, when the collections were weekly, the matter would be resolved within a matter of days.

But in another case of the Law of Unintended Consequences, Croydon’s new fortnightly schedule has left some Shirley residents with four weeks’ worth of black bin bags piling up in their wheelie bins, until earlier today.

In a residential area where many of the householders are elderly or infirm, shunting an overloaded wheelie bin containing up to four times the contents it is designed to hold on to the pavement is almost impossible. Even some of the brawny bin men struggled to move the bins to their van.

Shirley, February 21 2012

According to our (unscientific) survey, only 1 in 5 of Inside Croydon readers are entirely satisfied with the new rubbish collection routine, while more than 50 per cent of our readers say that they have endured four or more missed collections of their bins or recycling since Croydon Council introduced this latest cost-cutting wheeze in October.

Feb 9: UPDATE 5: Welcome to Croydon!

Here’s a picture of the mess on the doorstep of the reception to Croydon Council’s own offices. Looked at, it seems to be blow-in street rubbish that has been accumulating there for some time.

Rubbish outside the corporate reception entrance at Taberner House, central Croydon, February 8

We wonder whether CEO Jon Rouse will be phoning the customer services department to add to the 150 per cent rise in complaints about the failings of his council’s services?

Such has been the success of our Garbage Gallery that today the Croydon Guardian has joined in, posting a report and photos from Heron Road, Addiscombe, where fly tippers had dumped a van load of rubbish on Monday. It was not cleared until yesterday. Click here for the Guardian report.

Feb 1: UPDATE 4: So much for Gavin Barwell MP’s merry band of litter pickers and their efforts to clean up at College Green last weekend – these refuse bags have been piled up, somewhat picturesquely, for the past two days.

Croydon Council’s press office denied that it was bagged-up and dumped after planning executive director Stephen McDonald cleared his desk on Tuesday.

More rubbish piles up in central Croydon, between Fairfield Halls and College Green. Jan 31- Feb 1

And thanks to Inside Croydon‘s loyal reader, the rubbish pictures keep piling up. There’s more below

Check out our report on the failings of Croydon’s rubbish collection and recycling system by clicking here.

More rubbish, carelessly dumped, on the streets of Croydon: The Retreat, Thornton Heath, Jan 20

This delightful sight was to be found round the back of Selhurst Park and Sainsbury's. Every little bit helps. Jan 20

Jan 27: UPDATE 3: Further proof, if any were necessary, that Croydon is becoming a grubbier place, litter-strewn and with an inadequate bin collection or road sweeping service, comes from Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell.

Barwell has a merry band of litter pickers that has regularly toured Croydon’s parks and open spaces. But tomorrow, Gav’s top team is coming close to the centre of town.

Barwell writes: “The volunteer clean-up team that I set up is out this Saturday morning but rather than clean up a local park we are going to turn our attention to Croydon town centre, specifically College Green (the area between Croydon College and the Fairfield Halls) and, if we get enough people, Cherry Orchard Road.

“We are meeting at 10.30am on College Green outside the new Croydon College buildings.”

Can there be stronger affirmation that one of the council’s services that is paid for out of our Council Tax is not being done adequately?

Certainly, Inside Croydon readers’ pictures seem to demonstrate that rubbish is piling up on our streets. Keep sending in your pictures to, noting the date and location of when the photograph was taken.

The over-flowing wheelie bin pulled out and obstructing the pavement is rapidly becoming emblematic of Croydon in 2012. With collections reduced to once a fortnight, residents' bins are inadequate for the number of bin bags they generate. But worse - this set of pictures was taken on Sanderstead Hill last week (Jan 20), on the day AFTER the bin collection was supposed to have taken place. Another missed collection

Sanderstead, Jan 20, the day AFTER the collection was due

Sanderstead, Jan 20

Going to the next Crystal Palace home game? Better hope it doesn't rain the day beforehand. This rubbish-strewn puddle, Selhurst Park, Jan 15 2012

Thornton Heath High Street, Jan 17, 2012: Isn't this "bin" emblematic of Croydon today? It is one of two bottomless council bins on the high street at Thornton Heath that have been unrepaired or replaced for longer than locals can remember

Near East Croydon station, Jan 18: a wonderful welcome to the delights of Croydon for arriving commuters

Even Croydon Council's contractors cannot be held responsible for the over-spilling rubbish outside someone's home on Galpins Road; Jan 14 2012

The delights outside some private garages in Thornton Heath. Picture taken in second week of January

Sunday morning in January in South Croydon: dumped rubbish, someone else's problem

Some residents are taking direct action. The signs read: "continued fouling by dogs with anti-social and irresponsible owners" will lead to prosecution. Wandle Road, central Croydon, January 2012

Another example, were any needed, that fortnightly collections are not frequent enough for some households. South Croydon, Jan 2012

Article first published Jan 16 2012
First update: Jan 18 2012
Second update: Jan 21 2012
Third update: Jan 27 2012
Fourth update: Feb 1 2012
Fifth update: Feb 9, 2012
Sixth update: Feb 21, 2012

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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1 Response to Croydon in 2012: the Garbage Gallery

  1. Kake (@Kake) says:

    Your first photo clearly shows that the relevant household are putting plastic and cans in their landfill bin, so no wonder it’s overflowing. Your second photo shows textiles, which should be collected weekly.

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