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Sunday, 31 August 2014

A new recycling and rubbish collection service. 



A new recycling and rubbish collection service provided by Dorset Waste Partnership.

 There was quite a bit of vehicle congestion, at various times, around the lanes and in the villages of the Bride Valley yesterday (28th August). From mid morning onwards into late afternoon, Swyre, Puncknowle, Litton Cheney and  a number of other villages, became clogged with local and holiday maker traffic waiting patiently for the lanes to clear.The cause of all this congestion was three ( or maybe even four) large trucks completely blocking the lane, with only room for pedestrians to walk on either side. The trucks were all from the same contractor who it seems was on contract to the West Dorset District Council, or the Dorset Waste Partnership, (I can never tell the difference), and were delivering "wheelie bins" to every household in the Bride Valley and presumably at some time all the other households in Dorset. Not that these were the ordinary common or garden "wheelie bin", nor for that matter were there only one per house. There were in fact 4 bins per house. One large black one (Grey according to the accompanying booklet), one large Green one, one slightly smaller brown one and a smaller still brown one called a "kitchen caddy" to be kept in your kitchen and not put out for collection.

The "new bins"

There was also an optional wheelie bin with a brown lid for "garden waste" if you choose to spend an annual charge of £40.00 for someone to collect you grass cuttings once every two weeks. These "new" bins are of course in addition to the historic "green box", which has been clogging up the corner of the garage for many years to be filled with glass and bottles and collected every two weeks or so provided you have some to put out.

The reason for this congestion, and a large volume of bins being delivered, was in fact the introduction starting in October, of the new improved Dorset Waste Partnership, or District Council, household waste collection and recycling service. This new "improved" service replaces, with four or perhaps five bins what was until now, done by one bin and one box. The new boxes come with a comprehensive list of instructions or guidance, to ensure that we are all aware of what to do with the new bins. In addition there are two large sticky labels, to fix to the front of 2 of your new bins to ensure that everybody knows what should be in there. The Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP), are introducing this new improved service  to "increase recycling, reduce the rubbish we sent to landfill and drive down costs".
Drive down costs, a phrase much used by privatised industries as a reason for their existence and as an incentive for everyone to agree with privatisation. Unfortunately the truth is usually different.

New collection system ‘boosts recycling’ in Dorset

As is often the case, the "new improved service" entails more complications, more inconvenience, more "work", and certainly more financial cost to those who "benefit" from the improvements.
For example, all containers, tins, plastic punnets, ice cream or margarine tubs and any other such items must be washed prior to being placed into the green wheelie bin. Any of these items which are not suitable for the green bin, are to be placed in the grey (or black) wheelie bin. (For guidance, there is a list of items provided in the booklet.)
This may seem to be not unreasonable, but when it is considered that the list of things to be washed out has been expanded to include such items as margarine or ice cream tubs, ready meal containers for lasagne or chicken korma, raw fish fillet in some sauce or other or one hundred and one other items which were until now, consigned directly to the dustbin black bag, it is easy to see how the pile of "washing up" after practically every meal will increase significantly, as will water consumption and the already extortionate water bill.

Storage of these new bins will itself be inconvenient to say the least. Without the luxury of a garage or outside space in the garden, the households are forced into littering the lanes with these bins as the new service is a KERBSIDE collection, not a backdoor collection, as the "instruction notes" emphasise. This will of course be problematic for those who live in terraces of houses or cottages, not uncommon in rural areas, rather than in semi's or detached dwellings.A tour through what have until now been picturesque English Villages may turn into a drive past unsightly rows of bins, which will undoubtedly in some cases, be a bit smelly.

It remains to be seen if the new service will be successful and not, but from the available evidence it would seem that this is another example of the a council scheme this time under the guise of Dorset Waste Partnership, not being thought through to ensure that the advantages of the new scheme significantly outweigh any disadvantages.

There is undoubtedly a case to be made for more efficient and wider use of recycling of domestic waste, but any such scheme has to provide both incentive and good reason for making a change. Having to work out which combination of bins should be put out on the nominated collection day, can in itself be confusing. This would particularly be the case for the older or even the disabled residents living within the villages. Every week the kitchen caddy contents should be transferred to the brown lockable food bin which will be collected on your normal collection day each week. On alternative weeks the green recycling bin will be collected every fortnight. This is not be confused with the  wheelie bin with the brown lid, which will be collected every fortnight on the alternative week to the recycling bin, should you have elected to pay the £40 a year for the garden waste bin that will be collected fortnightly. There is no indication as to which day these bins will be collected,  whether it will be with the recycling bin or with the rubbish bin. Confusing isn't it.

The one good point about the new service, is the provision of a red plastic bag marked with the words "Battery recycling bag" and instructions to "simply place any unwanted household batteries in this bag, seal the bag and place it on top of the contents of your recycling box on recycling collection days".

Clearly this will be a case of "suck it and see". Any new scheme is bound to have teething problems, which will cause some confusion and result in frequent telephone calls at least in the short term, to Dorset waste partnership from people seeking clarification guidance or other instructions.We can only await developments.