BINMAGEDDON!: How I intend to refuse to take new wheelies

CROYDON COMMENTARY: As the council begins the ‘roll-out’ of its new wheelie bins, at least one resident, IAN HUNTER, thinks he has found a way to avoid being forced to triple the number of bins on the narrow pavement outside his home

The pavement outside Ian Hunter’s home – the littering on the pavement after Veolia’s recycling collection has visited

I hold an exemption letter from Croydon Council allowing me not to hold a wheelie bin on my property as the property was deemed unsuitable for wheelie bin collection.

It’s something I shall be waving under the noses of the council officials at their information “roadshow” at the Whitgift Centre.

The letter, dated September 2005, the last time the council tried to impose wheelie bins on a property unsuited for their uses, states categorically: “I can confirm that your property has been re-surveyed…”, yes, they claimed then to have done a property survey which had found our home suitable for their wheelie bin, “… and is unsuitable for wheelie bin collection.”

Our home, and the pavement outside, has not altered in any significant manner in the interim period, so what makes Croydon Council, and Veolia, think that it is suddenly capable of accommodating three times as many wheelie bins as they found it was unsuitable for in the past?

The space at the foot of my steps (I am above the road), amounts to 28 sq ft, room for a box (2.3 sq ft), on top of which I place my food caddy. On the weeks when the paper waste is collected, I place out my black bag (4 sq ft) for landfill. This leaves plenty of room for visitors to pass. Once the rubbish has been collected I take back, up my steps, the now empty box and caddy – no problems.

Ian Hunter has a letter from the council stating that his property is unsuitable for a single wheelie bin. His property has not changed at all since the 2005 letter

Under the council and Veolia’s proposed, imposed, new arrangement, all three new wheelie bins have to remain at the foot of my steps. Since they take up at least 4.8 sq ft and their handles project some 2 ft 6in into the space, they will leave precisely 1ft 6in of usable access for visitors, postmen with packages, delivery men, milkmen and family visitors with baggage, as well as myself (not exactly slim), and my wife, who has mobility issues.

Other neighbours on our street, which is not untypical of residential roads in our part of Croydon, have even narrower entrances to their homes.

Veolia has started delivering wheelie bins around the borough, regardless of suitability

When asked recently about the Veolia “borough survey”, Stuart Collins, the council cabinet member responsible for the policy, admitted that to do a house-by-house survey to accurately assess the need would cost a lot of money.

So what?!

Wouldn’t spending that money on accurately surveying properties have been better than what Veolia appear to have done, and have been paid for, not just by Croydon but by the three other boroughs in the South London Waste Partnership (Sutton, Merton and Kingston) caught up in this farce.

I would like to know:

  • Will my exemption be recognised?
  • If it is, will that mean the refuse lorry which comes to my street will have a list of such exemptions and look to the status quo by ignoring the redundant wheelie bins I shall leave on the pavement to be collected by the council?

The amount of domestic waste I create generally only half-fills the blue and green boxes so, when I see the council officials, I expect them to say whether the 3.5 cubic waste I fill their wheelie bin with every two weeks will stay there because it wastes time (and therefore money) to collect the small amount which will be left until the bin is filled to their satisfaction.

Perhaps one of Inside Croydon’s loyal readers can answer a further question. I wonder what the legal consequences might be if all householders who do not want these new wheelie bins clogging up their properties were to consign them to where they belong: the bin?

More on this subject:
BINMAGEDDON! Residents outraged by council’s rubbish plan
BINMAGEDDON! ‘Does anyone think this is a good idea?’
BINMAGEDDON! Why can’t the council engage with residents?

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10 Responses to BINMAGEDDON!: How I intend to refuse to take new wheelies

  1. The proposed wheelie bin system is one of the most monumentally misconceived policies that this council has ever proposed. And for this Council, that really is saying something.

    Ever since the new system was publicised I have been writing and saying that I do not want, nor will I accept, new bins.

    There just is not enough space in front our house and the bins will make our pleasant Close highly unsightly. To my numerous queries I have had one answer, which for sheer preposterousness and potential wastefulness, takes the proverbial biscuit.

    I was told that the bins are to be distributed without exception and that after they have been in use for four weeks “the crew” will assess whether there is sufficient room for them and will then decide whether one will be permitted to use the bags that are also available.

    The waste of effort, bins, time and money will be enormous.

    The lack of concern for individuals is typical, too.

    We are being told that we have to live with the new system whether we like it or not and that some Orwellian crew will make decisions as to how we live.

    I have asked who will make up “the crew” and the criteria upon which they will make their decisions. No answer, of course.

    No arrangements are being made to take back and recycle the old, redundant boxes… It’s a mad, bad, crazy, illogical world down here in Tony Soprano country.

  2. smithy013 says:

    I wouldn’t be asking if the exemption will be recognised – if it doesn’t have an end date on it don’t ask the question!!

  3. Ian Stewart says:

    I don’t understand how the “consultation” worked. I was never “consulted” and as far as I know – from my perspective – the current system works fine.

    • Dave Scott says:

      I asked who was consulted..the answer?
      Veolia and the council. No residents were asked. Why on earth ask the end user, they may have some good ideas. Instead leave the decision to the superior beings.

  4. David Mogoh says:

    I visited the north end “road show” today. It consisted of person after person saying that they had nowhere to store the new wheelie bins and that the new general waste bins were too small. I even got the staff at the road show to admit that the new system is madness.

    My new bins, once delivered, will be staying out on the pavement. I suggest that anyone and everyone does the same thing. In about 40% of the borough there will be no choice but to leave them on the pavements. And how many blue bins or plastics / glass bins (previously general waste bins) will be used by neighbours to dump their waste once their own bin starts to overflow? And once a neighbour or passer-by has “contaminated” a recycling wheelie bin with a black sack of rubbish, then that effectively puts a stop to your waste disposal, at no fault of your own.

    Or is it possible that Veolia will actually empty the old general waste bins (new plastics / glass bins) even if they do contain just general waste?

    If they do that then at least that would just about keep the streets from overflowing. But I doubt they will.

  5. Lewis White says:

    It’s sad when streets end up looking like dumps, not through litter or fly-tipping, but because of wheelie bins.

    I can think of one in Peckham where all the houses have basements with steps, and no where to store the wheelies for the basement dwellers. The bins fill the street.

    I was walking down a road in Coulsdon yesterday. Not even a very hilly area, but where many houses on one side of the steet and their tiny paved front gardens)are raised above the pavement by anything from 6″ to 3ft, accessed by short flights of steep narrow steps.

    It would take a strong person to get an empty wheely up off the pavement to many of these front gardens.

    The residents seemed to be coping with doing this for one wheely and the recycling boxes, but honestly – will they be capable of lifting three wheelies? The front gardens are so small, they will be crammed with bins. No, the bins will all end up lining the pavements, in silent crowds, like extras in a zombie film.

    I am wondering if this is another imposition of the South London Waste Partnership, on all four boroughs, or is Croydon being used as a guinea pig to assess a new bin regime, before it goes into all the others?

    Even if the project were well-conceived, and a feasibility survey of all streets, or at least a pilot project in a few sample typical areas should have been carried out.

    Thinking more about the enormous blue lidded bins for paper and card, I am wondering if they will ever be filled up with just paper and card?. My guess is that after a while the council willl re-designate these as “all recycling” bins, for cans, packaging and bottles too.. Waverley Council in South West Surrey give residents one rubbish wheely bin and one mixed recycling wheely bin. One week, they collect the waste, next week the recycling. plus a waste food caddy, collected weekly.

    When, evenually, the UK government introdues a deposit scheme for plastic bottles and cans, the volume of plastic in our household recycling bins should reduce, as we will take empties back to the shops, so the volume of recycling should reduce a bit. Hence the Waverley aproach might work here in Croydon and reduce the wheelie bin clutter in the streets.

    Let’s hope so.

    • No Lewis, we’re not the first. It was done in Sutton last year. It was an unmitigated disaster, and the ramifications continue today, hence #SuttonBinShame (check it out on t’interweb).

  6. ronnie101 says:

    If neighbours get on well, they may have to share one of each type of dry-recycling wheelie bin and stack the spares in the back garden or use them as shrubbery pots.

  7. veeanne2015 says:

    No room for more Wheelie Bins ? Have new council-branded bags instead !
    This gets dafter !
    What’s the cost of purchase and supply, and who pays ?
    How much paper can these bags take compared with existing boxes ?
    Are they rain and snow proof, as they have to be left out for collection ?
    Are they stable, or will they fall over getting both base and side wet and muddy ?
    When empty, will they blow away in high winds ?
    Are they sealable, or, awaiting collection of contents on the curtilage, will gusts of wind blow some of the lighter contents down the street ?

    If so, how difficult will it be for the dustmen to open them with their protective gloves on ?
    What then ?
    Do they CARRY all these full heavy bags to the lorry and then back again to the property ?
    Empty the contents into their own wheelie bin they use now for recycling boxes’ contents ?
    No, they need both hands to take all the NEW wheelie bins to the refuse lorry and back again !
    So, how ?
    Why can those without space not continue to use their existing boxes at NO extra cost ?
    Our blue box is kept conveniently by the front door – bags are not convenient — junk mail goes straight in, newspapers etc. and all paper rubbish when dealt with too, The lid a handy temporary table, and also when in the street for putting the Food box on, and also stops the contents from blowing away.
    The lids of the boxes replaced by bins could be used for those whose existing lids are lost or broken to stop their contents blowing away – far cheaper and sensible !
    Can anyone answer these questions ?

  8. dickb4925 says:

    Not sure whether the Council is softening on this, but in the latest edition of their glossy self-promotional magazine (which we all pay for of course), they say “If there is very limited or no outside space – such as houses with no front gardens – residents are being asked to continue to use their recycling boxes or given new council-branded bags to use.” If this is so, then the contractors must have a process and equipment to continue to collect the boxes, which is what most residents want to do. So why not give us the choice ?

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