Someone else’s rubbish!

Our kerbside recycling has since last autumn largely replaced trips to the recycling centre.  In some ways it’s an improvement: certainly getting rid of bottles/etc weekly without hassle, and having somewhere to dump the junkmail without first having to bring it upstairs is icing on the cake.  And the food waste recycling is altogether new here!

But not all is well.  The way they collect it leaves a residue of uncollected stuff which seems to differ week by week.  And the killer is that the residue ends up not with whoever dumped it, but with someone more-or-less random.  And we’re not talking someone dumping litter here (though I daresay that happens occasionally too), but the very people who collect the rubbish.

Today I finally got around to complaining.  After last time I expected an ordeal with their web forms and I got it – in spades!  But eventually I coaxed the form into accepting my complaint, which I’ll let speak for itself:

Your collection of green-box recycling is flawed.

It seems to vary week-by-week, but the most usual pattern is that a team come ahead of the collection lorry, and sort the recycling.  At that point, waste of one kind may move from my box to a neighbour’s, and vice versa.

When the collection follows, they seemingly reject some things.  For example, carrier bags which the team doing the sorting use to collect items such as bottles, cans or paper.  Sometimes items that are harder to identify.

The outcome is that I am regularly left with residual items of other people’s rubbish in my green box.  The system has become one not of collection but of somewhat-random exchange!

The first couple of times this happened, I dealt with it.  But I’ve had enough: I’m not taking the green box back into my house until and unless it’s cleared of other people’s rubbish!

A second minor complaint: they sometimes exchange green boxes, lids, etc.  I have in the past (on separate occasions) been left with a non-matching box and lid, and with a box that was sticky to the touch!

Worse, the boxes are sometimes left right in front of the door to trip over when one just steps outside: this is an accident waiting to happen!

Posted on August 16, 2011, in recycling, tavistock, west devon. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Good luck with that. Let us know how you get on with a comment on this post, please?

    I complained to North Somerset that they were randomly collecting the carrier bags and seeing as we try to avoid carrier bags now, that means we’re slowly being left with no way to sort the recycling like they request. Now they take them less often, but it still happens. Is it so hard to deliver a consistent service? A lot of these providers claim ISO 9001 and so on, but the service is actually very inconsistent.

  2. I have a reply from them. Doesn’t entirely address my points, but let’s see whether anything happens.

    “Please accept our apologies for the service you have been experiencing.

    I have forwarded your complaint onto our waste contractor, ***** Services UK Ltd, to speak to the crews.

    The crews will be reminded that containers are to be returned to the correct property normally in the same location or as near as practicable to the place where they were left for collection. They are also to ensure that any items that are not acceptable for recycling are put back in the box where it came from and appropriately stickered.

    Sorting of recyclables ahead of collection can help to speed up the service and ensure the road is not blocked for too long.

    If you are unhappy with this response please contact me and I will arrange for the matter to be dealt under stage 2 of our complaints procedure.”

  3. I’m not altogether happy with West Devon’s recycling crews either. Yesterday it was green waste day, so I left out four sacks of garden refuse (the maximum allowed). The sacks, which are provided by the council, are sturdy and reusable. When I got home from work, the (now emptied) sacks had been dumped on the pavement. Three had been distributed down the road by the wind. The fourth was missing altogether (presumably snapped up by a neighbour who had, no doubt, lost one on a previous occasion in similar circumstances). It requires only a couple of seconds of effort to put the sacks into my driveway or over my wall. So now I’ll have to go to West Devon’s offices during working hours and provide an explanation so that I am “allowed” a replacement sack. I’ve noticed the crews are getting rather sloppy these days, and our once-rather-good service is not what it was.

  4. Lucky West Devon residents getting free sacks! North Somerset have to pay for all garden waste sacks and put out bricks or tiles to weigh them down. Being a coastal area, that still doesn’t stop them against all wind, it does nothing to stop theft and it’s a nice tool for any vandals too.

    Service is not what it was? Has the TUPE on the crews from the last contract just expired, perhaps?

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