Rubbish service has residents lining up to take a dump

There’s mounting annoyance at the council’s official dumps each weekend, as residents trying to do the “decent thing” find themselves in traffic queues which take more than 30 minutes to access the Purley Oaks or Factory Lane recycling centres.

What a waste: Most of the green garden waste being collected by the council might readily be composted by residents

What a waste: Much of the green garden waste being collected by the council might readily be composted by residents

Croydon appears to have created a perfect storm for itself, with the introduction of its opt-in green waste collection service at the same time that a Surrey recycling centre at Caterham has been closed.

The free garden waste collection service was withdrawn as a consequence of Tory Government austerity cuts at the end of last year, with a paid-for service, costing between £55 and £105 per annum, offered to residents in its place.

This change of service has been portrayed by the opposition Tories as the Labour-run council discriminating against the residents of the leafier suburbs of the south of the borough, even though it is understood that there may be keen gardeners to be found in green outposts of such gritty northern wards as South Norwood, Norbury and Waddon, who may also have need for such a service.

It’s worth noting here, though, that the council’s green recycling collections are probably not the most eco-friendly option they might have offered. More than a decade ago, composting bins were provided to residents as a nudge towards recycling more, and wasting less. Today, for a more modest one-off charge than for the collection service, composting bins could have been sold by the council to residents, offering a longer-term solution and reducing the need for monthly collection truck routes creating more air pollution.

The recycling depots handle a wide range of materials, not only green waste, but the increase in the number of visitors has been noticeable since the introduction of the charges for green waste collection and the closure of the dump in Caterham. And weekends, when most people have more time available to spend sitting in a queue of cars, tend to be the busiest time.

Two visits to the council dump at the weekend by our loyal reader saw them queuing for around half an hour on each occasion – not the one-hour-plus which some Tory councillors have claimed.

The long and winding road: conscientious residents in the queue to access the official Croydon recycling centre at the weekend

The long and winding road: conscientious residents in the queue to access the official Croydon recycling centre at the weekend

But it was still noticeably longer than on previous visits, with the queues at Purley Oaks building from 8am on Sunday. With dozens of cars idling and their engines still running, this is hardly the greenest of solutions to recycling.

According to Stuart Collins, Labour’s street-cleaning and environment cabinet member, the use of the recycling centres is under review. He claims 14,000 residents have signed up for the garden waste collection service – a tidy £750,000 income to add to his department’s budget each year, especially in future when the one-off cost of the new wheelie bins is expected to reduce.

It has also been suggested that some of the queues may include people who live outside Croydon. Surrey County Council’s depot at Chaldon Road, Caterham, has been closed since March for “essential maintenance”, and is not due to re-open until the end of this month. Surrey does recommend that its residents use an alternative dump, south of Redhill, but there’s a strong suspicion that some have opted to drive into Croydon.

With the staff at the recycling centres rarely, if ever, asking for proof of Croydon residence from the dumpers, it appears that hard-pressed Croydon Council is yet again providing a subsidy for Surrey, albeit unwittingly.

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7 Responses to Rubbish service has residents lining up to take a dump

  1. If you’re that lazy that you won’t compost your own stuff, that cheap that you won’t pay for it to be collected and that stupid you drive and queue up at the dump for more than 30 minutes, you’re an idiot.

  2. Down in leafy Burgess Hill we have had a “paid for” service for several years. It is bi weekly and costs about £70pa. A pair of our neighbours share a bin. It is good value and we only take any surplus to our tip which incidentally accepts small “domestic” trailers. I don’t see why flat or small garden owners should subsidise those with larger gardens.

  3. Its all fairly typical of the shambles that pretends to be our local government at the moment.

    It wasn’t their fault that they had to impose a charge for collecting garden refuse.

    It is unequivocally their fault, their lack of reasonable, professional foresight that they did not foresee an upsurge in the use of the free dumping facilities and make arrangements accordingly.

    A few more containers at the dump would help, some sort of quick in and quick out for garden refuse must be possible, some new ideas, anything….but, no, any idea of doing something that actually improves or enhances the quality of life for residents seems to be the last thing on their minds. Appalling.

  4. Friends in Penge were complaining of exactly the same at Churchfields recycling centre (Bromley borough, almost Lewisham) this weekend. Don’t think it’s so much a Croydon problem as a people problem.

  5. Ian Stewart says:

    I went twice on Monday to Factory Lane and on the first occasion it took around 25 minutes to get in, the second time it took 50 minutes. I wasn’t recycling green waste, despite living in the gritty north of South Norwood, I have scraped the shillings together and opted to purchase a green waste bin, albeit a small one, I was shifting some rubble produced from new fencing.

    It seemed to me that part of the issue was the number of commercial vans loaded to the roof with waste – I hope they’re paying to use the facility, but I didn’t see many going across the weigh-bridge.
    The queuing system is also an accident waiting to happen. Drivers not waiting to get in are racing past the queue on the wrong side of the road, forcing oncoming drivers to take to the pavement.

  6. I had a nightmare visit on Monday – there was a queue from the Purley Oaks roundabout back to Purley and similarily up to South Croydon. People were going ballistic as the whole roundabout was blocked. When I eventually got in, after 20 minutes and risking life and limb, there was ONE man on duty. There was one other ‘managerial’ person in a high vis jacket and one of those measuring wheels on a stick surveyors use, guessed he was working out the length of the queue!

  7. Rob Bailey says:

    I haven’t had a garden since I was a kid so I’m no garden expert, that’s for sure. But I’m confused, my parents designated a generous area of the back of the garden for compost, where they put their garden waste, for the whole of my childhood. They also took organic kitchen waste out to it. I remember it all composting well.
    So I don’t understand why people aren’t composting their garden waste, and reducing road journeys. The first respondent, Mr Arfur Towcrate, clearly thinks this is what should be happening.
    Confused in Selhurst.

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