St Helens Council claim recycling success - but unhappy residents say 'it's a shambles' (From St Helens Star)
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St Helens Council claim recycling success - but unhappy residents claim it's a 'shambles'
6:00pm Wednesday 25th September 2013 in News
ST HELENS’ extensive new recycling bin collections rolled out this week – and immediately faced a backlash from dozens of unhappy residents.
Some council taxpayers questioned why their food caddies – in many cases ordered several weeks ago – had yet to be delivered even though the scheme had started.
Others complained about a “shambolic” change in the system which means cardboard has to be placed in black boxes instead of larger greens bins.
And there were some whose waste was not collected on the advertised date.
However, despite the grievances councillors insisted it was “teething problems” and said they were satisfied with how the new system was working. Cllr Seve Gomez Aspron – the cabinet member tasked with overseeing the recycling overhaul – fended off criticism on social media.
He claimed 98 per cent of addresses listed for collections had been completed on time – with the two per cent following the next day.
On Tuesday (25 September) – the second day of the borough’s new recycling regime – council crews collected 53 tonnes of recyclable waste – the equivalent of half a week’s work under the old system, said the local authority.
Councillor Seve Gomez-Aspron said: “The response has been fantastic. Obviously with such a major change – involving new vehicles, routes and timetables – there have been one or two teething problems.
“And even though we’ve managed to make 98 per cent of our planned collections during the first two days, we’re working hard to improve our performance even further.
“We really appreciate the efforts people are making to recycle more of their household waste – and keep it out of landfill sites.
"We know some are waiting patiently for their new containers but we’re doing all we can to get these out as quickly possible.”
However, he could not escape the fact that a considerable amount of taxpayers expressed unhappiness.
The caddies, for food waste, are one of the key changes to the system, which has seen brown bin collections go fortnightly as St Helens Council attempts to drive up recycling.
Numerous residents sent messages to the Star newsroom criticising the council because the containers had not yet been delivered – despite orders apparently being placed several weeks ago.
The council said a contractor is overseeing deliveries, although council staff are assisting because of the demand.
On Wednesday it remained unclear how many deliveries were outstanding.
A council spokesman said: “We really appreciate the response to our offer of kitchen caddies to residents. “It’s a welcome sign that this extra service is in demand.
“In all, 26,500 orders have been received. These are still coming into the council at the rate of 1,500 per day.
“A total of 40,000 caddies have been purchased and deliveries will be taking place on a daily basis until all requests are met.
"Monday saw the new vehicles in action for the first time – and the presentation rate was very encouraging for all materials – including food waste.”
The council added that residents who have yet to receive their food caddies can put waste in brown bins until the containers arrive.
The new system sees black boxes, pink bags, blue bags and food caddies collected on the same day each week. Collections of brown and green bins alternate each week
St Helens Council added that since July thousands of new recycling containers have been issued to residents - including 1,200 green bins (gardening waste), 15,000 black boxes (glass and carboard), 18,000 blue bags (paper) and 18,000 pink bags (plastic bottles and aluminium cans).
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