Refuse collection continues to attract criticism

St Helens Star: Cllr Gomez-Aspron has fended away criticism of the new refuse service and believes recycling rates are soaring Cllr Gomez-Aspron has fended away criticism of the new refuse service and believes recycling rates are soaring

A CONTROVERSIAL refuse collection service has come under renewed fire from residents who saw recyclables being hoarded together into a normal bin wagon.

But St Helens Council has insisted the measure was used as a temporary solution after one recycling sorting vehicle had to be taken off the road following a crash with a forklift truck at a warehouse.

Councillor Seve Gomez-Aspron, the politician tasked with overseeing the most significant changes in rubbish collections in decades, offered the explanation after Star readers complained recyclables sorted into a variety of containers were being lumped together.

Cllr Gomez-Aspron said the wagon had been brought in to get a backlog of rubbish off the streets early in the new year because a sorting vehicle was sidelined and the waste was sorted into recyclables at a council depot.

However, it is not the first time residents have complained to the Star about recyclables seemingly being pooled together after previously being separated by households in the correct containers.

Four months into the new system – which saw brown bin collections go fortnightly and a weekly food waste and recycling round brought in – it continues to be a talking point.

The council insists it has been a success, stating that 4,800 tonnes of recycling material had been collected between September and January – an increase of 3,300 on the corresponding period for the previous year.

The scheme does have its supporters, with some readers writing to the Star to question what all the fuss is about.

But 59 per cent of people who voted in a recent Star online poll stated that the new service was not working for them.

It is the system, not necessarily having to recycle, that has been a common complaint.

Some residents are unhappy that rounds go uncompleted or that individual houses are missed out.

The number of containers – black box, blue bag, pink bag, food caddy and general bins – is also a bugbear, as is the mess occasionally left on streets when the containers have been emptied. Collection times which can run to 9pm on weekdays are another gripe.

In a letter to the Star Clock Face resident Stan Bate wrote: “Collection vehicles appear to be scurrying around like busy fools, without any apparent purpose.

“If you’re lucky your collection can take place any time between 6.30am to 9.15pm on the day publicised, but often it runs into the next day, and sometimes not at all.

“To add insult to injury, you find the waste you’ve placed neatly ready for collection has been flung haphazardly along the footpath after being emptied.”

Cllr Gomez-Aspron maintains the system is working and that extra sorting vehicles have been ordered to meet, what he argues, is residents’ demand for recycling.

 


 

JOHN BEIRNE, the former Liberal Democrat councillor, added his voice to the criticism surrounding rubbish collections after a Freedom of Information request to St Helens Council showed the overtime bill for bin men had jumped by more than a third in one year.

Figures released by town hall chief showed the bill had leapt from £65,311 in 2012/13 to £103,228 in 2013/14 – a rise of £37,917.

He said: “It’s not just teething problems. No-one knows when their waste is getting collected. The portfolio holder responsible needs to take urgent action before more money is wasted.”

Comments (17)

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12:19pm Thu 23 Jan 14

MrBenggo says...

There was nothing at all wrong with the old system of rubbish collecting.
Over £750,000 spent on new vehicles and containers for food,and the only extra being collected is the food waste.
ADD that to the council spending millions on the Parkside site and now they want to put up the council tax.
There was nothing at all wrong with the old system of rubbish collecting. Over £750,000 spent on new vehicles and containers for food,and the only extra being collected is the food waste. ADD that to the council spending millions on the Parkside site and now they want to put up the council tax. MrBenggo

1:18pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Peter Dean says...

Let's not forget the latest plans unveiled for the 'St Helens Mall' And I'm sorry but what the heck is this charging for a bin?? Our new neighbours had to pay for bins before they could get any rubbish taken - welcome to the area..not.
Let's not forget the latest plans unveiled for the 'St Helens Mall' And I'm sorry but what the heck is this charging for a bin?? Our new neighbours had to pay for bins before they could get any rubbish taken - welcome to the area..not. Peter Dean

6:25pm Thu 23 Jan 14

It's all a blur says...

All that cost on the vehicles, advertising and now all the overtime, that would have been better spent in other vital services and social care, surely?

I do not mind recycling and am happy to do it, but I do feel miffed when I see the bin men throwing stuff about or trying to empty the boxes and bags into the wagons and half of the contents going all over the road for them to drive off and leave it!! Would it be so difficult for them to pick up what they spill?
A few weeks in, one of our black boxes was returned without a lid, so now on windy days cardboard blows out, we only use that one when the one with the lid gets full. At Christmas I spent ages taking sellotape off wrapping paper so that could be recycled instead of being put in the brown bin and I recycled every bit of cardboard from packaging that I could, but it still made a mess and there was loads for them to collect.

They need to look at the system and find ways of making it more efficient and cut this overtime bill as it will cost a fortune long term if it is left like this and there will be no benefit, seeing as this was all done to avoid a fine...
All that cost on the vehicles, advertising and now all the overtime, that would have been better spent in other vital services and social care, surely? I do not mind recycling and am happy to do it, but I do feel miffed when I see the bin men throwing stuff about or trying to empty the boxes and bags into the wagons and half of the contents going all over the road for them to drive off and leave it!! Would it be so difficult for them to pick up what they spill? A few weeks in, one of our black boxes was returned without a lid, so now on windy days cardboard blows out, we only use that one when the one with the lid gets full. At Christmas I spent ages taking sellotape off wrapping paper so that could be recycled instead of being put in the brown bin and I recycled every bit of cardboard from packaging that I could, but it still made a mess and there was loads for them to collect. They need to look at the system and find ways of making it more efficient and cut this overtime bill as it will cost a fortune long term if it is left like this and there will be no benefit, seeing as this was all done to avoid a fine... It's all a blur

8:10pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Sankey says...

Is the hapless councillor gomez aspron attempting to reduce the overtime bill by driving the wagons himself ?
Is the hapless councillor gomez aspron attempting to reduce the overtime bill by driving the wagons himself ? Sankey

12:42am Fri 24 Jan 14

Keva68 says...

Not that any other party would be much different but i cant believe people vote for these idiots.
The overtime bill will continue to rise as its a much more labour intensive operation.And wait until the claims for repetitive strain injury and bad backs come in from the refuse workers.
Not that any other party would be much different but i cant believe people vote for these idiots. The overtime bill will continue to rise as its a much more labour intensive operation.And wait until the claims for repetitive strain injury and bad backs come in from the refuse workers. Keva68

3:12pm Fri 24 Jan 14

frankly says...

the population of St Helens cant be bothered to recycle..but if fines were issued they may change their minds
the population of St Helens cant be bothered to recycle..but if fines were issued they may change their minds frankly

4:05pm Fri 24 Jan 14

Sankey says...

What I can't understand is why does St. Helens have such a complex scheme in relation to other councils? Warrington is example is not a quarter as complicated.
What I can't understand is why does St. Helens have such a complex scheme in relation to other councils? Warrington is example is not a quarter as complicated. Sankey

11:17pm Fri 24 Jan 14

lucyprice says...

My recycling was on the front over 24 hours this week. The wagon knocked down some of the branches off my magnolia tree then they drove off leaving my recycling untouched. Have seen TWO blokes in a truck delivering recycling bins on a Saturday- nice lucrative overtime
My recycling was on the front over 24 hours this week. The wagon knocked down some of the branches off my magnolia tree then they drove off leaving my recycling untouched. Have seen TWO blokes in a truck delivering recycling bins on a Saturday- nice lucrative overtime lucyprice

9:05am Sat 25 Jan 14

barrie timpson says...

"Resounding success"
"Resounding success" barrie timpson

10:13am Sat 25 Jan 14

Jack60 says...

Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh Jack60

10:46am Sat 25 Jan 14

shelagh47 says...

i have never had a problem with the new system all my recycling is taken away when it is supposed to, the problem is with people who cant be bothered
i have never had a problem with the new system all my recycling is taken away when it is supposed to, the problem is with people who cant be bothered shelagh47

9:49pm Sat 25 Jan 14

barrie timpson says...

No Shelagh, I think the problem is people can be bothered , only to have their recycling not picked up , and then blown all over the street.

I'm glad the system works for you , but clearly it's not working for everybody.

The green bin collection came to mine today - 4 days late (yet more overtime) yet most people had put their bins away. That is not a success.
No Shelagh, I think the problem is people can be bothered , only to have their recycling not picked up , and then blown all over the street. I'm glad the system works for you , but clearly it's not working for everybody. The green bin collection came to mine today - 4 days late (yet more overtime) yet most people had put their bins away. That is not a success. barrie timpson

10:44pm Sat 25 Jan 14

Geoff911 says...

frankly wrote:
the population of St Helens cant be bothered to recycle..but if fines were issued they may change their minds
Recycling is a "choice" my friend, you don't have to do it, yet this council are forcing and bullying people in to doing it.
What would you like the council to do, fine people for putting recyclables items in a brown bin, I bet someone has come up with that in a meeting, trouble is "its a choice"
[quote][p][bold]frankly[/bold] wrote: the population of St Helens cant be bothered to recycle..but if fines were issued they may change their minds[/p][/quote]Recycling is a "choice" my friend, you don't have to do it, yet this council are forcing and bullying people in to doing it. What would you like the council to do, fine people for putting recyclables items in a brown bin, I bet someone has come up with that in a meeting, trouble is "its a choice" Geoff911

10:50pm Sat 25 Jan 14

Geoff911 says...

Quote:-The council insists it has been a success, stating that 4,800 tonnes of recycling material had been collected between September and January – an increase of 3,300 on the corresponding period for the previous year.

The recycle rates will go up if you change the rules on bin collection to force people to recycle, as you have give them "no choice" your only emptying the bins once fortnightly.
I see no one have looked at the government report that states " everyone should have a weekly bin collection"
Quote:-The council insists it has been a success, stating that 4,800 tonnes of recycling material had been collected between September and January – an increase of 3,300 on the corresponding period for the previous year. The recycle rates will go up if you change the rules on bin collection to force people to recycle, as you have give them "no choice" your only emptying the bins once fortnightly. I see no one have looked at the government report that states " everyone should have a weekly bin collection" Geoff911

10:55pm Sat 25 Jan 14

Geoff911 says...

http://www.telegraph
.co.uk/news/politics
/10539113/Pickles-pu
blishes-bins-bible-t
o-encourage-return-o
f-weekly-rubbish-col
lections.html

just in case you would like to read the Government report on recycling.
http://www.telegraph .co.uk/news/politics /10539113/Pickles-pu blishes-bins-bible-t o-encourage-return-o f-weekly-rubbish-col lections.html just in case you would like to read the Government report on recycling. Geoff911

5:25pm Tue 28 Jan 14

Bill Bradbury says...

Going over Moss Bank during the wind reminded me of the film "The house of the Flying Daggers" but these instead were blue and pink bin bags interspersed with rolling grey bins and blown black ones as I drove around these mobile chicanes. I found my blue bag 100yards away in somone's garden.

However I have had no problems with the collections apart from you need to put the Brown & Green bin out the previous evening as our bin wagon comes around soon after 7am when I am still deep in the land of nod. The flashing orange light and the noise wakes me up too late if my bin isn't out!
Going over Moss Bank during the wind reminded me of the film "The house of the Flying Daggers" but these instead were blue and pink bin bags interspersed with rolling grey bins and blown black ones as I drove around these mobile chicanes. I found my blue bag 100yards away in somone's garden. However I have had no problems with the collections apart from you need to put the Brown & Green bin out the previous evening as our bin wagon comes around soon after 7am when I am still deep in the land of nod. The flashing orange light and the noise wakes me up too late if my bin isn't out! Bill Bradbury

8:17pm Tue 28 Jan 14

MrBenggo says...

Gomez-Aspron will be remembered for rubbish,if nothing else.
Gomez-Aspron will be remembered for rubbish,if nothing else. MrBenggo

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