Fears over hot ash bin burnsBy Sally Bryant
March 27, 2012
A Wokingham woman is warning of accidents ahead when the council’s controversial blue bag rubbish collection scheme is launched next month.
Christine Taulbut, of Reading Road, has two coal burning stoves in an attempt to keep her fuel bills down.
She has been putting the ash into a metal dustbin. But from Monday, April 2, the ash will have to go into the blue plastic bags, and Mrs Taulbut fears someone is going to suffer burns.
The advice is to bag it up from a metal bin once it has cooled down, but Mrs Taulbut is also questioning what weight the bags will hold and how many extra she may have to buy.
She has been piling up her ash this winter to show the council just how much there is.
She said: “Basically, this new system doesn’t allow for hot ash. Thousands of people use coal, they didn’t think about this. It is safe in a metal bin – kids can’t stick their fingers in it.
“They are telling people to do something that isn't sensible. I can see accidents, a lot of old people use coal.
“Why should any resident, old or young, keep moving ash – what about health and safety?
“It’s windy in the winter months. How on earth can I move it from bin to bag without it blowing everywhere? I am sure no council employee would be asked to do it as part of their job.”
Mrs Taulbut’s research has revealed Eden District Council in Cumbria has a blue bag scheme, but it makes an allowance for ash and will still collect it from a two-handled metal dustbin.
She has been in contact with Councillor David Sleight, who defended the new Wokingham scheme and suggested she bagged the ash from the metal bin once it had cooled.
Cllr Gary Cowan, executive member for environment, said: “From April 2, the blue sacks are to be used for waste that cannot be recycled.
“The blue bags cannot be used for clinical waste, garden rubbish, rubble, building waste, bricks, concrete, vehicle batteries, and cans of paint or oil.
“However they are suitable for coal ash once cooled down. We recommend that coal ash is transferred from a metal dustbin into the blue sacks once it has cooled down.”
But Mrs Taulbut is adamant the council has got it wrong.
She said: “I have a green cone, wormery and hotbin composter in my garden, also a waste disposal unit in my kitchen so I’m in a reasonable position to see this new system is not going to easily work.
“How much weight will these blue bags hold? Cat litter is heavy, as is coal ash. Wokingham appears to be anti-babies, anti-pets and anti-coal.
“I pay £242 a month council tax – why should I or anyone have to drive household rubbish to the tip?”