As always the case when there is a major change like this, there are teething problems. For reasons that aren't yet completely clear, Cotham seems to have borne the brunt of these and I've had more complaints about waste collection over the last two months than over the last four years. These have fallen into four main types:
- 'Special arrangements' being forgotten, where residents put their bins somewhere that's convenient for them, but which isn't directly outside their house. This often happens with back lanes and the like, with the agreement of their own crew of collectors. There has been an issue with this local intelligence being transferred to May Gurney.
- A super-strict interpretation of the rules, so that May Gurney have been refusing to collect waste that's not put out correctly - e.g. overflowing bins or rubbish in recycling boxes. This is particularly a problem in some multiple occupancy houses and SITA used to be pragmatic if waste wasn't sorted out after a few weeks.
- Residents not reading/understanding (or not getting) the information that was sent out in October explaining that some of the collection days have changed, especially over the Christmas period.
- A communication problem somewhere between the Council's Customer Services Centre and May Gurney, so that missed collections were being sorted out once, but that the overarching problem wasn't being resolved.
As I say, I'm not sure why Cotham has been a particular problem, but the rest of the city doesn't seem to have had the same issues. I suspect that it is probably a feature of our demographic mix and particularly the high proportion of subdivided and multiple occupancy houses. These mean that waste collection is much more complex than the suburban areas where every house has one drive and a bin at the end of it.
On the positive side of things, May Gurney are already having a positive impact on recycling rates. The November figure jumped to 48% and I hear that December was 52%! If so, this is a milestone for the city - we're recycling more of our waste than we're bunging in the ground for the first time. This is an important step towards becoming landfill-free.
If you are still having difficulties with your waste collections, please drop me a line by e-mail (email@example.com) and I'll do what I can to get it sorted out.