No blue bin bags, no rubbish collectionBy Laura Herbert
May 23, 2012
People in Wokingham not using blue bin bags under the borough’s new waste scheme will no longer have their rubbish collected.
In the next few weeks, Wokingham Borough Council will begin policing the scheme and households failing to use the bags will be left off rounds.
The launch of the scheme six weeks ago was plagued by a number of incorrectly sized bags being issued to residents but the council will now begin to crack down on homes failing to use the bags.
Pete Baveystock, chief officer for waste and recycling, said: “The changes have bedded in now. We will be working with residents to create a ‘light touch’ to get them all using the blue bags.
“We are not looking at penalties, we are looking at working with residents as there is no reason why they shouldn’t be using the blue bags. It’s an educational process.”
Issues about the strength of the bags continue to be raised, with many people claiming they are too weak and, as they must be left out by 6.30am for collection, animals are easily ripping into bags.
Mr Baveystock said: “If animals are getting to the bag and you have to put it out overnight, put it in a dustbin. The bags are 25 micron*, above what you would get in the supermarket.”
Since Veolia Environmental Services took over the tender of the service, recycling in the borough has increased by 30 per cent and household waste reduced by 25 per cent.
Councillor Gary Cowan, outgoing executive member for environment, said: “This is down to our residents’ efforts and we hope to be able to sustain this good work throughout the year.
“The new scheme will allow us to achieve even more and save nearly a million pounds every year which can be pumped back into vital front line services.
“We know things didn’t go as smoothly as we hoped in April, and there are still a number of residents who have outstanding issues with us, but we are working hard to address these as quickly as we can. I’d like to thank you for your patience.”
Cllr Cowan added: “We appreciate the new waste scheme has been a big change for our residents but it was a change we had to make as landfill taxes of £64 per tonne are increasing at £8 per tonne year on year.
“We’ve been set targets to reduce landfill by a third before 2020, and if we don’t achieve this, we face significant penalties of £150 per tonne that would take vital money away from front line services.
“We are extremely pleased with the results for April but know we still have a long way to go to deliver on all of our targets.”
Jack Lavington, municipal south regional director at Veolia Environmental Services, added: “Seeing a 30 per cent rise in recycling in such a short space of time is an outstanding result but we believe even further progress can be made and look forward to working with residents to make this possible.”
Almost 6,000 homes have opted to pay for a brown wheelie bin, which is significantly fewer than the council’s initial estimate of 20,000 bins, while 3,500 properties are using compostable sacks.
Some people have been unable to order brown bins because of problems with telephones but the council says it is working to resolve the issue with Veolia. Anyone wanting to join the scheme can call (0118) 909 9360 to place an order.
* The thickness of bags are measured in microns, which is short for micromillimetre. Bags with a higher micron have thicker polythene therefore the bag will be stronger.