BINMAGEDDON! ‘Does anyone think this is a good idea?’

Fortnightly collections with 240l bins look like this. Imagine how things will be when the landfill bins are only 180l capacity

Inside Croydon readers have reacted strongly against the council’s and Veolia’s plans to impose at least two additional wheelie bins on every household, and to expect residents to return their soon-to-be redundant recycling boxes.

Early results of an (unscientific) poll of readers suggest only one-third will happily accept the new wheelie bins, while barely 1 in 8 people intend to return the recycling boxes to the council dump for… well, recycling.

Public responses on this site and across social media have been almost entirely hostile to the plans, from residents in the south as well as the north of the borough:

“Expect absolute chaos in September, in particular in the northern part of the borough when those multiple occupancy properties have their overflowing 240-litre wheelie bins replaced with a 180-litre wheelie bin. It won’t be pleasant.”

“I live in Thornton Heath. I do not want three wheelie bins on the front of my house! More clutter and rubbish… It makes everything look untidy. Where was the consultation on this? Anyone else think this is a good idea?”

“Uproar in Purley, too. The streetscape is going to be absolutely screwed by a bin infestation.

“Supposedly there was a survey that determined which properties in the borough had the space for lots of shiny new bins. But people living in terrace houses with a small yard at the front have been told they’re having them, and people with steep frontage with lots of steps have, too.

“Message to the council: We managed to recycle fine with boxes ‘Thank -You –Very- Much’. Boxes that are easier to handle and store away. Boxes that for paper recycling are not always filled because lack of junk mail, daily papers mean the amount of this type of waste has been falling in recent years. But Croydon in its wisdom/stupidity thinks to replace the box with a bin about seven times the size.

“The council claims this change is going to save £5million a year, this is despite, according to the leaflet, some households going on to a weekly collection. I’ve got no idea the logistics of this, but you’d think that must entail a lot more refuse miles each month. Are some households in the same area going to have a higher frequency of collections? Or is just the South of the borough going to get a lower level of service out of vindictiveness?

“Croydon should bluntly tell Veolia to ‘foutre le camp’. Surveys show that single-stream recycling operated by Virdor is more efficient entailing fewer refuse journeys and fewer damned bins.”

“So am I reading this right, including the garden waste bin, we’ll have to find space for FOUR wheelie bins? I’m all for recycling, but do we get a reduction in our Council Tax for doing the council’s job for them and rental space for the wheelie bins?”

“I’d love it if they’d just empty them when they are meant to. Our paid-for garden waste service collection last Friday still not collected.”

“For some of us this will mean four wheelie bins (including garden waste) plus a food recycling bin. This is an ill-thought-out policy and fit for the dustbin of Croydon history, Tony Newman please note. For example, single people like me do not create the same amount of waste as an extended family, so we should be given the choice instead of cluttering our gardens.”

“The letter from the council said that they had commissioned a survey to check that everyone had enough space for the bins. They should ask for their money back on that.

“As for taking the existing boxes back to the dump, as usual the council presumes that everyone has access to a car. They don’t let people access the dumps on foot, even if I wanted to.”

“Four wheelie bins is a joke! I’m not sure what they are thinking.”

“How am I supposed to fit them all in my small front garden?”

“The people that sit behind the desks at the council don’t have a clue about logic and practicality.”

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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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14 Responses to BINMAGEDDON! ‘Does anyone think this is a good idea?’

  1. Linda Arwood says:

    I don’t have room in my front garden for more bins – and I’m certainly not digging out my lovely rose bushes to accommodate them!!! And as for returning the existing bins – I don’t drive, they wouldn’t be accepted on public transport and, in any case, I’m a pensioner and not able to carry them back – to wherever they’re supposed to go to!!!! Bad, unworkable, idea Croydon Council.

  2. Chris Flynn says:

    “But Croydon in its wisdom/stupidity thinks to replace the box with a bin about seven times the size.” < I imagine the rationale is that you will probably only put out the paper bin every seventh week. 1/7th of the work for Veolia!

    Also, the leaflet I got suggested they don't want the boxes back – there was a suggestion to use them as plant pots or storage I think. Very benevolent.

  3. Nick Davies says:

    Many continental cities have communal facilities every block or so in densely built up areas, taking up a couple of parking spaces or sited where the shops are, and emptied every couple of days. Would that work here, or is a daily walk to the next corner too much for those Brits without a dog to accompany them or a child to send?

  4. Missey moo says:

    I’ve emailed the council to tell them there are only 2 of us living in the house so the current recycling boxes are perfectly adequate & I don’t want the new wheelie bins. Still awaiting a reply!

    • You’ll be lucky to get a reply.

      The system seems to accept incoming mail only and to have no facilities for responding. This is in line with the new “We won’t listen to you” motto that underlines all the Council now does.

  5. veeanne2015 says:

    So Veolia has ‘surveyed’ each street to determine which properties can accommodate the additional bins.
    Somehow they didn’t notice the flights of steps UP to the properties on one side of our road at one end and DOWN flights of steps on the other:
    or that in the small level gardens opposite the three blue recycling boxes etc. are for the THREE flats that most houses have been converted to (or 4 or 5):
    or that any empty space is needed for the off-street parking for their residents (cars at work), and without which the two-way traffic, unable to pass each other in the single lane, pull into to allow traffic movement, without which there would be traffic gridlock:
    or consider how older people could move all these wheelie bins around on appropriate days.

    I seem to remember when the wheelie bins were introduced the recycling collectors took every bin to the lorry, finding a space eventually between parked cars, queuing up to have them emptied, and then taking them individually all the way back again.
    They soon sensibly changed this system to lifting out the black plastic bags to put in their large wheelie bins, collecting from several houses each time. no queuing, nor time wasted returning them, with only full bins individually taken to the lorry.

    See my comments on ‘Inside Croydon’s’ ‘Council withholds £1M from Veolia for bin service failings’
    on 17th June regarding the original Wheelie bin system for paper, tins, plastic etc.
    How could this work in so many of Croydon’s roads, or were these the ones Veolia ‘accidentally missed ?

  6. David Mogoh says:

    My recyling boxes are stored just outside the kitchen (back) door, which is at the back of the house. They are stored just outside the kitchen because I dont have space in the kitchen for 3 x bins (general, paper & plastics). They are stored just outside the kitchen because that is where 95% of the waste & recycling is generated – so therefore convenient. They are stored just outside the kitchen because I only have space at the front of the house for 2 bins – currently the general waste wheelie bin and (only just) the garden waste bin. That garden waste bin, I have paid for but will have to send back (do I get a refund?) In order to fit 1 of the new wheelie bins. I will opt for having the plastics bin (current waste bin) plus the new general waste bin. We don’t produce too much paper waste so will leave that out next to the road when they deliver it and will continue to use the blue boxes for paper waste. Regardless, we will still need to retain our current green recyling boxes outside the kitchen, to prevent us having to leave the house by the front door (not great when you have small kids and the front door blows shut!) every single time we need to recycle a tin can!!

    To re-cap. We can only fit 2 wheelie bins in front of our terraced house. The council will have to take back our paid for garden waste bin and also the new blue wheelie bin they deliver.

    I have a few friends in multplie occupancy houses that struggle with 2 x 240 general waste bins being collected every 2 weeks. This is prevelant in the north of the borough where, if the council bothered to look, there are bin bags overflowing on to the streets at every turn.

    This decision will turn the houses in which it COULD work (larger family houses with big drives) in to ugly bin storage units and it will turn the houses in which it WONT work (multiple occupancy, small terraces, etc) in to cesspits.

    How do we get this overturned or do we just have to wait and just dump our new wheelie bins in the street?

  7. Lewis White says:

    The pavements of many streets are already getting colonised by wheelie bins that should be kept in front gardens. It will be like a Dalek takeover if we have all these whellie bins, or even more gardens will be concreted over to store them.

    I have space for my black (unreyclablewaste) wheely and my brown (garden waste) wheely, and my 2 blue (paper) recycling box and 2 green (bottles) box, which — as someone has mentioned — nest neatly inside each other when empty.

    The existing collection pattern works well–why change a system that actally works?
    Come on Croydon– don’t go forward with the new proposals.

  8. timbartell says:

    Everything that happens in this country is because of the negative forces of the government’s austerity policy. Cash starved councils have to go for the ‘best deal’ from contractors, they ( Veolia ) can dictate the terms. Central government offset all the blame onto local government.

    • The essence of that is undoubtedly correct, Tim. Austerity, imposed in 2010, has much to answer for, and has indeed been used by the Tory governments to shrink local government.

      In this case, the changes are all about saving £5million per year, and nothing to do with the “qaulity” of service, as Veolia won a race to the bottom with SLWP for the four-borough contracts, and now deliver with under-staffed teams across south London.

  9. dickb4925 says:

    If the council proves intransigent on this, I suggest we (those that can) return the new bins to the waste/recycling centre. Pictures on national TV of a mountain of unused wheelie bins might just tickle the council’s vanity and make them take notice 🙂

  10. mraemiller says:

    If they could remember to empty the existing bins it’d be a start. The leaflet I got about how this colour bin was now being used for that and that colour bin was being used for this and there was another new bin was far beyond my comprehension anyway… Seemed all a big con to take less rubbish by talking rubbish.

  11. I live in a road that has a number of Landlord (HMO and rental) let properties. Two of the houses have over 10 tenants with one bin and no recycling boxes. Most are not fluent in English nor have access to the internet. They also do not have phones or money (being on benefits etc) to be on a phone to the council for over 90 minutes waiting for an answer and still not get an answer (It was 92 minutes, as they used my landline I waited also).

    This was a person actually trying to recycle.

    There was another just down from me that loaded the first bin to overflowing with nappies so much that the lid would not close and Rats were feeding there. Three flats and two bins.

    Now have a look at the requirements for landlords and in specific the Anti Social Behavior guide for landlords bullet point 10. No mention of individuals responsibility to actually order bins, no mention of this anywhere in the property, no responses from the landlords. Croydon Council ? Hmmm no response there either.

    If anyone thinks that penalising people who are unaware and in difficult circumstances and are actually trying in those circumstances to do things the right way but are in forced positions put on them by landlords and the Councils own process is reasonable, ethical and fair let alone solving the problem, perhaps a good look in the mirror is required. Instead if you feel so strongly write to the Councillors and the Chief Executive at Croydon Council and ask them to do their roles more effectively and to the Government to give them more money to enable them to do so -and if they do not resolve it or consult back, vote for others and other parties at the next election.

  12. Ian Kierans says:

    I think this may be a better solution. I do not like the idea of three bins. But having bottles blown over the road and breaking, papers blowing away and the street looking like rag day along with burst tyres and repetitively picking paper up that’s blown in I like even less. Mr Collins may have brought us a better option although implementation and process could be improved. My main concern is that Veolia struggle to actual collect one bin, how are they going to manage four?

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