New blue bin bags coming up shortBy Lucy Allen
March 26, 2012
Some of the new blue bin bags delivered to houses in Wokingham are up to 10 per cent smaller than they should be, it has emerged.
An unknown number of the blue bags being dropped on doorsteps this month will not hold the 80 litres the council said they would.
The shortfall was discovered by Lib Dem councillor Prue Bray, who got her tape measure out and recorded the size of the bags she was delivered.
She said: “Officially, these bags are supposed to be 40cm across at the bottom, 73.5cm at the widest point at the top, and 99cm tall.
“This one is only 36cms at the bottom, 66cms at the top and 88cms long.
“That makes it 10 per cent smaller, which would leave me eight bags short over the year. Then I would have to buy a pack of 10 bags, which cost £4.”
Cllr Bray has also published pictures online that show her blue bag set against a 60-litre swing bin liner and coming up wanting. Wokingham Borough Council is in the process of delivering 5.2 million blue bags around the borough, with each household getting 80 bags for the year. Normal black bags will no longer be collected after April 2.
Cllr Bray added: “The council needs to check its contract with Veolia. People will not know they have got these smaller bags.”
Resident Nikki Hamilton added: “I understand the reasons behind cutting down what goes to landfill.
“However I was surprised when I compared my blue sacks to a 80-litre Tesco bag and even more astonished when I saw Cllr Prue Bray had compared hers to her 60-litre swing bin bag.”
Blogger and Labour candidate for Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe Matthew Dent has posted a video online which shows him filling a blue bag to see how many litres of water it takes, with a result of between 66 and 67 litres.
Council waste and recycling boss Pete Baveystock was visited by Cllr Bray and her tape measure yesterday morning.
He said: “We have obviously delivered some that seem to be smaller than the other bags. If the residents get them, they should let us know.
“If the small bags are 10 per cent smaller, we will issue extra bags to make up that shortfall.”
He said deliveries of the bags would be completed by Friday, March 30, and some households were asking for recycling boxes.
He said: “Box demand is high, and we are keeping up with it.
“But I would remind people that because recycling will be collected every week, if you are managing with two boxes now, you may only need one from April 2.”
Mark Moon, strategic director place based services, said: “Last week we were made aware that a number of the blue refuse bags have been manufactured in a smaller size than the agreed specification. We believe that 2750 householders, 4% of the borough have received these smaller size bags.
“Veolia Environmental Services has set up an exchange programme for residents who believe they have the wrong bags. Incorrect bags can be determined by colour as they are royal blue and the correct sacks are a grey blue colour. Residents should contact the Veolia helpline on (0118) 909 9360 who will be happy to visit the property and exchange the bags.
“The issue occurred due to a manufacturing malfunction, however Veolia are working closely to rectify the problem.
“We would like to reassure our residents that no one will be disadvantaged due to any error in bag size.
“The correct size of the blue refuse bags are: 400mm (at the bottom of the bag) x 735mm (across the widest part) x 990mm (the height of the bag to the top of the handles).”
There will be an online question and answer session on Wednesday for residents to find out more about the new waste collection service.
Representatives from Wokingham council, Veolia Environmental Services and Recycleband will be answering questions between 6pm and 9pm at www.wokingham.gov.uk/waste-questions