BINMAGEDDON!: Smaller wheelie bins to cost Croydon £2.3m

WALTER CRONXITE, our political editor, on how the council opted to pay extra for the new bins which are so unpopular with the borough’s residents

There is a storm approaching Croydon Town Hall over its new bins system

Residents, thousands  of whom are already angry at the invasion of their properties by unwanted additional wheelie bins, are likely to be furious to learn that our cash-strapped council opted for the smaller bins, at an additional cost of £2.3million.

The new bin collection system, and the expected #CroydonBinChaos, starts next week, with residents already braced for a gap of “21 days or more” between bin collections in warning letters from Veolia.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents to an unscientific Inside Croydon poll have expressed their unhappiness with the new bins.

The council is now claiming that the three-week wait for a bin collection will affect only 18per cent of households. It must be purely coincidental, then, that on a weekend when a last-gasp extra recycling and household refuse collection has been promised, the council’s MyAccount online system, which residents might use to report missed collections, is being taken offline over the bank holiday weekend “for essential maintenance work”…

Croydon Council, and the “Clean and Green” cabinet member, Stuart Collins, claim that by providing smaller bins for landfill waste, they will somehow improve recycling rates from 38 per cent to 50 per cent, while also saving the borough’s budget money.

One council official, Tom Lawrence, the “head of environment and leisure”, has written recently that, “Limiting the size of landfill bin will provide an impetus to address this [the lack  of recycling], whilst the larger recycling bins will not limit the amount of recycling in the same way the 55l boxes currently do, giving us the best chance of recycling more.”

Residents’ front gardens have been invaded

Yet, as Lawrence really ought to know, there has never been any capacity limit on Croydon residents’ recycling boxes.

If residents wanted extra boxes for extra recycling capacity, they were able to request them from his department and make good use of them.

In a twist which only the execs in Fisher’s Folly could come up with, the council is refusing to recycle the soon-to-be redundant recycling boxes, insisting that residents can only dispose of them by taking them to the council dump.

The cost of issuing thousands of smaller wheelie bins will do nothing to placate the mounting opposition to the scheme.

According to correspondence seen by Inside Croydon, Lawrence says that the new bins which have been imposed on residents borough-wide were an additional part of the scheme and will cost the Council Tax-payers £2.3million.

The changes are part of a new contract with Veolia, a deal agreed through the South London Waste Partnership, which also includes Kingston, Merton and Sutton. When a similar new system was imposed on neighbouring Sutton last year, the resulting #SuttonBinShame saw some residents go for two months without having the refuse collected, as Veolia struggled to cope.

In his correspondence, Lawrence wrote that the Veolia contract is due to save Croydon Council £5million per year through “economies of scale by procuring the services across four boroughs (Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton); Guaranteed income from garden waste and commercial waste; Increased revenue from sale of recycling”.

Tom Lawrence: forgot the incinerator, or that additional recycling boxes were available

Lawrence wrote: “The cost of purchasing the blue recycling bins was part of Veolia’s contractual bid, so Croydon has not incurred any additional expenditure for these.

“The decision to reduce the size of the landfill bins was Croydon’s and the cost of these bins is £2.3million, however this will be offset by savings of around £10million in avoided landfill costs over the next 10 years as a result of the smaller bins and the increased recycling revenue.”

Notably, nowhere in the head of environment’s letter does he mention that, also as part of a SLWP agreement, Croydon will be paying an additional £10million per year for the use of Viridor’s waste incinerator at Beddington. While those costs will obviously be offset against rising amounts of landfill tax, incinerator use is likely to work against improving recycling rates, and will therefore reduce the possibilities of Lawrence’s promised increased revenues from the sale of recycling.

So another lose-lose from Croydon Council.

  • Inside Croydon is a member of the Independent Community News NetworkInside Croydon is the borough’s only independent news source, and still based in the heart of Croydon
  • “Monitored” by the council CEO since 2010
  • ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS 2017: Inside Croydon was source for two award-winning nominations in Private Eye magazine’s annual celebration of civic cock-ups
  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or a local event to publicise, please email us with full details at

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
This entry was posted in Croydon Council, Environment, Refuse collection, Stuart Collins, Tom Lawrence, Veolia, Waste incinerator and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to BINMAGEDDON!: Smaller wheelie bins to cost Croydon £2.3m

  1. derekthrower says:

    Unable to spend a few thousand on making the SEND website usable. Unable to spend the odd million on making Vulnerable Children’s Social Services fit for purpose.

    Let’s spend it on bins that no one wants instead.

  2. sed30 says:

    Reblogged this on sed30's Blog and commented:
    So it begins

  3. Nick Mattey says:

    I do not understand this.

    Croydon Council are saying the savings will come from reducing the amount they send to landfill. As from October, Croydon will be sending all its non recyclable waste to the Viridor Incinerator at Beddington.

    What they are trying to say is were they sending the waste to landfill, they would save £10million. But as they are not, this is a nonsensical statement.

    Croydon Council have claimed already that the incinerator will save them £2million a year over landfill. Again, this seems highly unlikely. HM Treasury are going to introduce an incinerator tax which will wipe out any savings Croydon and the other SLWP boroughs thought they might make.

    So Croydon’s £3million a year savings from the new bins and incinerator will never materialise.

  4. Dave Scott says:

    Standby to see lots of green and blue boxes dumped here and there.
    I guess the one commonsense cell has to be shared around the council leadership. They really don’t have a clue. And become more clueless as each day passes.

  5. Lewis White says:

    I was just watching a fantastic prog on the box about landfill , which clearly is an eco-disaster, now and in future, dumping tons of heavy metals as well as plastics into the environment every day and resulting in very toxic substances being washed out over time from old landfills into the water table from where our drinking water comes.

    The Thames is already eroding its Essex banks, down Thurrock way, exposing thousands of plastic bags and decaying batteries amongst other very polluting things, all of which will degrade and enter the Thames, to enter the foodchain for marine life and ultimately, us.

    It was almost enough to make me recant all I have written about Incineration.

    However, on balance, the programme showed how sorting and reusing rubbbish, and recovering plastics from the waste stream is really what is needed, and for all of us to minimise waste packaging.

    Plus of course, a Government that has the guts to BAN unrecyclable or unbiodegreadeable packaging and recover all nasties from the waste stream.

    If the council’s decision to go for “smaller” landfill bins results in more recycling, all well and good, in my view. My new landfill wheelie looks quite big, and should be OK for our fortnightly collection .

    Sadly, there are still quite a few residents who don’t bother about recycling. How can we get through to them, that their children’s future heath depends on minimising waste, and recycling as much as possible ?

  6. Adrian Dennis says:

    Fairly universal complaints from neighbours about the imposition of these wheelie bins. Typically from those with no front garden to put them in and those with small gardens upset about losing their small garden to rubbish bins they do not want. Sad to see one near neighbour having to pay someone to cut down her shrubs and remove plants to fit these wheelie bins into her former garden.

  7. timbartell says:

    I don’t understand the need for a massive blue/paper recycling bin, this part of recycling has gone down. Is it in anticipation of a 3 to 4 week collection ?

  8. Lewis White says:

    I suspect that Tim is right.
    I also take on board entirely Adrian’s points about space needed, and the knock-on effects on gradens and greenery. .
    I think it is a real pity that the Council did not survey each street to see which can take wheelies, and which ones are only suited to the existing recycling boxes,

    One size does not fit all.
    The march of the wheely or wheelie is on, and taking over our streets and gardens.

    Hence waste reduction via elimination of excess and unrecyclable packaging must be priority for current and future Governments.


  9. Bernard Winchester says:

    The big bins pose many potential problems.

    They are ugly, and spoil the look of the town, when, ironically, the Council’s recycling slogan is “Take Pride in Croydon”. They are obstructing pavements and passageways hindering access. They are a security risk for some, as they can be used to climb over side gates and fences.

    Furthermore, common sense suggests that far from saving time and energy, they waste it, as at present they have to be pushed to the refuse vehicle and tipped up by heavy machinery when many will only contain a few items at the bottom. They would only be efficient if the frequency of collections were greatly reduced; it would take me over a year to fill mine, so perhaps they’ll only be emptied every Christmas from now on…

Leave a Reply