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Bonkers Blog August 2010

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19 August - Work-shy bin men. Useless officialdom

My green bin wasn’t emptied last Friday, an occurrence too frequent to be worth mentioning here each time. The problem is that I don’t produce much rubbish and a couple of supermarket carrier bags are not easy to reach at the bottom of the bin, so it’s easier to walk on by rather than reach in or hitch the bin to the van and get the hydraulic lift to do the job. It’s not a huge problem but we pay nearly the highest taxes in London for a sub-standard service and I thought it might be worth seeking advice from the council.

“My bin wasn’t emptied again last week and I am asking your advice on the best way of persuading your men to empty it. The problem arises when there is not much rubbish in the bin which lies at the bottom out of easy arm’s reach. What do you suggest to overcome this persistent problem? Obviously such a small amount of mainly cellophane wrappers can be kept another fortnight but it doesn’t seem right to me that I pay for a collection I don’t get. Have you any suggestions? The bin doesn’t need an emergency collection but it ought to go on your record of misses.”

Next day I had a reply from Serge Poumo, Waste and Recycling Advisor. “Thank you for contacting our department. Your property is on Enhanced Recycling Services and your green bin should be emptied on a fortnightly basis. As you are not really producing a lot of waste, we do not see a reason for why your collection frequency should be changed.”

What’s that all about? I didn’t ask for more frequent collection and if I want a reduced service I’d put my bin out every six weeks instead of two. What I would have liked to know was whether there was anything I could do to help the bin men overcome their fear of doing their job properly. It would make it easier for them if I left my supermarket bag on the pavement but we know what they they would do then! I corresponded with Mr. Poumo over a long period a couple of years ago when someone in my road who didn’t speak English and came from a country that probably didn’t understand the concept of refuse collection always threw theirs out of the door on to the street. Mr. Puomo achieved nothing over many months and eventually neighbours got together and took the huge heap of rubbish to the dump themselves. How is it that councils attract so many useless employees?


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