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Wheelie bins and fortnightly collections – the latest news on the Council’s plans

by Dundonald Lib Dems on 17 November, 2017

Litter-picking on the Chase in 2015!

From October next year, Merton Council is going to make a number of changes to our rubbish and recycling collections.

Each household will be given two wheelie bins, a recycling box, and a food waste caddy. One wheelie will be for rubbish, and the other for paper and cardboard. The recycling box will be for all other recycling. The food waste caddy would be collected weekly, everything else fortnightly on alternate weeks.

Many people have raised concerns with us about these changes, and since last year we’ve been trying to get the plans changed. On 17 November, we met with one of the Council officials in charge of the project to get an update on the plans – and to feed back the concerns people have raised with us.

The latest on the plans

  • The plans are being put in place to save money – through better recovery of paper and cardboard to sell, and because fewer employees will be needed to operate the refuse and recycling vehicles.
  • The Council has signed a contract with the waste company Veolia to run the new system: they are buying new vehicles and have ordered the wheelie bins. Therefore, scrapping the contract at this stage could cost millions of pounds.
  • There is some recognition that two wheelie bins will not suitable for every household. We’re told that people will be able to ask not to be given wheelies, or for larger or smaller bins. However, the criteria for this are not yet decided.

Our view

  • We want a waste collection system that works for people, is good value for money and that increases recycling.
  • We think Labour Party Council bosses should be open about how much money they expect to save, and the costs of changing the contract with Veolia.
  • We’re pushing for special arrangements for weekly collection of nappies and other sanitary waste.
  • We want real flexibility over wheelie bins to ensure people can opt out if they want.

Please let us know what you think by filling in our online survey: www.mertonwheelies.org.uk

   10 Comments

10 Responses

  1. Mrs Sharon Nikolic says:

    Hi,I live in The Battle area and we have tiny front gardens and as our house is a corner house,no access to the alleyway. I can only imagine how awful it will look in these gardens with all these wheelie bins,in most cases they would be across front windows and that is not acceptable.We pay so much money around here in community charge to live in these pretty streets.We are in a private rented house and have lived in this street since 1983 and have seen so many changes.For instance,the council used to bring rubbish skips and put them in each street so we could all get rid of large items.Now its just charges for everything and what do we get for it? Fortnightly collections snd streets littered with leaves and rubbish,disgusting.Yours sincerely,Sharon Nikolic.

    • Completely agree. The poor street sweeping and cleaning is terrible. We’re pushing for the restoration of weekly street sweeping, and at the very least an online system to report problems that actually works.

  2. Jenny Cooper says:

    I live in ‘The Apostles’ The houses are 2 up 2 down and terraced. The front gardens are very small.

    I am a single occupant and don’t create much rubbish.

    My front garden is very pretty.
    I have window boxes and lots of lavender.

    I am not prepared to allow the council to install two bulky
    wheelie bins on my property

  3. john england says:

    I live on the grid in Wimbledon park and the front gardens are not big enough for the proposed wheelie bins. they will look ugly and untidy. There is nothing wrong with the current system. Poor decision by the labour council.

  4. Ray Best says:

    Same concerns, we havea small front garden which we like to plant out. We do not want large bins parked on the site,as there is little room for the car let alone these Bins.
    You would have thought the council would have thought this through rather than just rush ahead with plans that do not suit any of the residents.

  5. Robin Powell says:

    We live in the Graveney Ward and have our bins located within our front garden (ok they are not the most pleasant to look at). Essentially we will be replacing one bin with another. Many others in this area do not have bins and there are a variety of waste boxes – some houses recycle other just bag it all up in one waste bag. Currently, we have a lot of people putting out bags the night before collection or even the day before. By the morning the bags are ripped open and the waste scattered around peoples gardens and the street by foxes. This intern leads to other vermin and a general mess which still needs to be cleaned up along with other heath and environmental hazards in your own gardens. I am in favour of the bins as it will hopefully make the area tidier. It will also reduce the amount of foxes and other vermin in the area as there will be a reduction in a food source. I also hope it will encourage more recycling in the area.

    The issue here is not the bins but rather the service to be provided by Veolia. I suspect the short term gain will end up costing more than any saving made by Veolia undertaking this contract. It is more prudent to look at the cost of the contact under the terms of duration of the contact, along with what definable KPIs have been assigned to Veolia by the council to ensure its success and what process are in place to punish or remove the contract should Veolia fail to meet any KPIs set.

    • Thanks Robin – there are definitely some houses in some areas where wheelie bins will be suitable. Which is why we want flexibility for people to opt out when wheelies are not appropriate. The Council tell us that the scheme can be mixed, with some people having them and some not.
      Food waste should already go in the locked food waste caddy. It’s not entirely clear how wheelie bins will increase recycling, unless people would simply recycle more because they had a bigger bin. That said, keeping paper waste dry is important from the point of view of raising money from the potential paper recycling (but there could be other ways of doing that). Certainly when we asked in Summer 2016 there didn’t seem to be much of a plan for how to increase recycling.
      Completely agree with you about the contract management/service provided by Veolia. The Council should be open about how much money they expect to save, and the costs of changing the contract with Veolia.

  6. W Macnab says:

    What seems to have been forgotten is the existing garden waste wheelie bins which some people will already have in their front yards. So yet more bins taking up space in front of houses. It is an impossible situation. I agree however that more security of general rubbish and food waste needs to be done because of the fox and vermin problem ever increasing. It is about time the Council treats foxes as vermin and does something to reduce the numbers in the Borough. Foxes are beautiful British wildlife but belong in the country and not in any London borough!

    • Completely agree about food waste. Under the new scheme the existing food waste bins will still be used (and foxes can get in mine!). I understand there’s various legislation that prevents harming foxes.

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