Tag Archives: Recycling

Tonnes of recycling burned every day, says Brighton binman

From The Argus

Ken Quantick, 71, drives recycling lorries for Brighton and Hove City Council in the Lewes Road area.

His three-man crew covers a round that stretches from Bear Road to Asda in Hollingbury.

Mr Quantick claims Veolia, the company responsible for disposing of Brighton’s rubbish, has told his crew to tip all their recycling into the household waste facility.

“This means our eight tonnes of recycling a day is going straight into the incinerator at Newhaven,” he said.

He says this is because the company cannot cope with the amount of recycling being taken into the Hollingdean depot.

But Veolia claims it only rejects recycling which has been contaminated.

Mr Quantick said his crew had “a very low contamination rate” and had not had any problems over the past two years.

“This is a scandal,” he said.

“The public need to know what is going on.

“Our management at Cityclean seem powerless to do anything.”

Mr Quantick said Veolia had told him and his crew their recycling was contaminated with black bin bags and old recycling boxes, which meant whole loads were being burned.

Pictures from the depot appear to show recycling which contains black bags and recycling boxes.

But Mr Quantick, a council binman for 14 years, said it was routine for his crew to fill black bags with recycling on some streets where steep banks made it difficult to get wheelie bins to the lorries.

He said Veolia only started complaining about this on Thursday.

“We have been using this system all year,” he said.

He also said some people threw their old black recycling boxes into the big communal recycling bins – which dustmen have no way of checking until they empty the lorries.

He said the real reason was that Veolia could not cope with the amount of recycling.

“They are overwhelmed,” he said.

“It’s a mountain. They can’t clear it quickly enough. They are using this as an excuse. It’s absolutely disgusting.

“I don’t know what the public is going to think when they find out their recycling is being burned.”

Veolia said: “We are a recycling company and we recycle viable material.

“All recycled material that is collected is assessed for levels of contamination when presented at our materials recovery facility in Hollingdean.

“Loads might be rejected if it is deemed to contain too high levels of contamination – this is to protect the quality of our end recycled product and ensure the best environmental performance.

“There is no reason, and it would not make any sense, for us to reject recyclables.”

The council said: “We know there is an issue concerning contamination at the Veolia site.

“We will be speaking to Veolia and the drivers about the situation during our investigation.”

New recycling bins are ‘unsuitable’ for some

From The Argus

Recycling bins wheeled out across the city have been called “totally unsuitable for certain streets” after residents complained or requested replacements.

Brighton and Hove city councillors have voiced the concerns of residents who think the 240 litre grey wheelie bins “look dreadful”, are blocking pavements and causing a hazard for disabled or elderly people and those using pushchairs.

Wish ward councillors Robert Nemeth and Garry Peltzer Dunn have written to Geoff Raw, the council’s chief executive, addressing problems with the bins faced by residents in the Poets’ Corner area of Hove.

Councillor Nemeth said: “We received many complaints about the new grey bins. Residents felt they just turned up out of the blue.

“The message was lost in communication. We knocked on around 800 doors and just over 50 per cent answered.

“Issues raised include them being too heavy, people having no front gardens to store bins and steps getting in the way, the general communication and administration of the bins behind the scenes, younger residents leaving bins on pavements and we received many complaints from mothers with buggies.”

Brighton and Hove City Council replaced stackable black plastic tubs for recycled waste with the large wheelie bins in June as part of a £1.1 million roll out, after trial schemes showed the larger bins increased recycling rates by four per cent.

Councillor Peltzer Dunn said: “People didn’t know what they were going to be getting so it was difficult to say they didn’t want it.

“We have heard comments from people saying that councils are only good for rubbish.

“It is not the majority but the minority who are concerned.”

The letter from both councillors states: “Houses on Stoneham Road, for example, are fronted by a narrow strip garden with waist-height walls along the pavement and knee-height walls along front paths.

“As the default bin is the larger size, tens of residents have requested a smaller replacement.

“Some residents have found it necessary to get rid of their grey wheelie bins entirely.

“We have had many reports of obstructions including one report from a disabled wheelchair user who had to turn around and go all the way back to the bottom of a street because her way was blocked entirely.”

Dick Page, ward councillor for Hanover and Elm Grove, said the “pavement clutter” causing obstructions was not just confined to Poets’ Corner.

About 45,000 bins have already been delivered out of the planned 60,000.

Bins in the Southdown Rise area

Email sent to Leo Littman, Julie Cattell and Kevin Allen (our councillors)  –

Dear Leo

Thank you for offering to act as an intermediary to allow SRRA members to liaise with Damian Marmura on the question of the bins issue. Recently we had a follow-up meeting to discuss the various issues that came up at the AGM. Here is a summary of the points that arose.

  1. There is widespread concern about the proposal to introduce more wheelie bins for recycling. The pavements in this area are narrow, and are already severely cluttered. This presents a particular obstacle to wheelchair users and to people with buggies etc.
  2. Many of the existing green wheelie bins and black recycling boxes get left out on the pavement all week. This not only causes obstruction, and necessitates single file for those able to walk; it has also meant that approximately a third of the width of some pavements is unusable, inviting fly-tipping, and allowing weeds to grow and bushes to overhang. New wheelie bins will make a difficult situation impossible.
  3. Some of the houses in this area have little or no room to keep bins off the pavement; however, many do have room, but we believe the occupants simply aren’t aware of the rules. The existing green bins were delivered without notice or consultation, and in fact shortly after residents had been told that Springfield Road, at least, was not suitable for wheelie bins. It is true that letters have since been sent out by the council, explaining the rules, but as these were delivered in envelopes and addressed to “The Occupier”, it is doubtful whether many were even opened, let alone read.
  4. We have never had street signs such as the ones in nearby Shaftesbury Road, which inform residents of their collection day and explain that bins must be kept off the pavement on other days. We have a rising student population, and it appears that neither landlords nor the universities inform them of how they should use their bins.
  5. Neither SRRA nor individual residents have been consulted about the proposed new wheelie recycling bins. We understand these bins were “piloted” in areas such as Hangleton which are quite different, having bigger gardens, etc.
  6. It appears that Springfield Road, at least, no longer has a street cleaner. There have recently been several instances of rubbish being strewn across the pavement as a result of residents not placing it in secure containers to protect it from gulls, foxes and the wind. The result is that it simply gets left to blow around.

We would like to work with you and the Council to deal with these problems. They should surely be dealt with before there is any talk of new bins. Some possible remedies might include:

(a)     Street signs explaining the collection day and what to do with bins between collections. Some streets which already have these signs clearly don’t need them, so perhaps they could be transferred here at minimal cost?

(b)     A real effort to inform residents of the rules about bins and the problems caused to other residents and users of the pavement if they are left out. This would require, as a minimum, properly individually-addressed letters, and possibly also home visits in particularly troublesome areas. SRRA can assist with this.

(c)     Refuse collectors to be asked to return bins to the premises after emptying, and not to leave them on the pavement as at present.

(d)     Residents who have difficulty moving their bin to be offered help. SRRA can help with this.

(e)     Consideration given to the provision of communal bins instead of individual ones; such bins would have to be properly labelled to explain who they are for, and possibly lockable. Also more information given about existing nearby communal bins such as those in Preston Park.

(f)     The removal of unnecessary wheelie bins from residences which currently have too many. Also replacement of large bins with smaller standard ones, which take up less pavement width and are easier to move when full.

(g)     The abandonment of separate glass collections, which would obviate the need to retain one black box per residence, as we believe is proposed. Other parts of the country manage to deal with mixed recycling including glass; we do not see why these cannot be separated at the depot.

(h)     The reinstatement of street cleaners.

Perhaps we could meet with you and Damian in the near future to discuss this.

Best wishes

Jim Grozier

For SRRA committee

New recycling scheme?

From The Argus

60,000 Brighton and Hove homes could soon be getting recycling wheelie bins.

60,000 Brighton and Hove homes could soon be getting recycling wheelie bins.

Hundreds more tonnes of waste could be spared from landfill and recycled in an expanded wheelie bin scheme.

Brighton and Hove City Council is considering offering the new recycling scheme to 60,000 more homes following a trial in Hangleton and Portslade which has seen recycling rates rise by four per cent.

But unions have questioned how the £1.1 million roll out will be funded and warned residents that the “under-resourced” refuse service would struggle to maintain improved rates on an expanded service.

GMB branch secretary Mark Turner said the scheme would require an additional £1 million in staff and vehicle costs to maintain the trial’s improved recycling rates long-term.

The introduction of wheelie bins is the latest move by the council to raise the city’s recycling rates which are among the worst in the country.

The trial of 4,000 households in 80 streets has seen 1.1 kg more waste per collection recycled and household waste drop by 1.2kg per household in the first six months since its launch in November.

Council officers have received dozens of inquiries from residents elsewhere in the city asking for recycling wheelie bins.

The 240 litre wheelie bin has a similar capacity to five black recycling boxes with the advantage of being covered – wet paper and cardboard is often rejected for recycling.

But black boxes will not be done away completely as residents with wheelie bins still need one to store glass.

Unlike other residents elsewhere in the county who put all recyclable material in one wheelie bin, Brighton and Hove City Council’s agreement with Veolia means the authority is paid more money if glass is recycled separately.

Mr. Turner said the trial had not been given enough time to bed in and that a decision on expanding it should only be made when year round results were available.

He said: “Participation has gone up during the trial because resources have been committed and residents have received a gold-plated, Rolls Royce service at the expense of other areas in the city.

“The service is already under-resourced at the moment with problems in getting vehicles and crews out and that’s what they should solve first and make sure that a full service is run.

“Those nice new wheelie bins aren’t going to benefit residents if they are not being picked up.”

Councillor Gill Mitchell, lead for environment, said: “Results from the recycling wheelie bin trial have been really encouraging.

“We know that there is a strong demand for recycling wheelie bins from residents in other areas of the city so I am pleased that we are now in a position to consider extending the service to many more households.

“This is a major step towards our commitment to provide a more ‘tailor made’ recycling service for all our residents.”

Recycling rates fall to new low

From The Argus

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The city’s dismal recycling rates continue to drop to new lows despite the Labour administration’s pledge to get basic services “back on track”.

Recycling rates in Brighton and Hove, already among the worst in the country, have dropped again to 24.68 per cent leaving the city trailing behind comparable authorities.

The continuing fall in 2015/16 from 25.8 per cent comes despite the introduction of new schemes including recycling wheelie bins, garden waste collections and expanded communal recycling.

Opposition councillors said the administration was performing like “a failed business” and urged the council to show more innovation.

Unions blamed falling service on staff cuts which has led to managers going out on rounds.

Labour councillors said their new schemes had been “really promising” in helping to increase the amount families were recycling.

Latest figures show the proportion of waste reused, recycled or composted continuing to decline with the authority performing worse than Cheltenham, Bournemouth and Bristol.

The city is ranked bottom against ‘statistical neighbours’ – similar places – lagging behind Blackpool Borough Council’s recycling rate of 40 per cent.

The council is missing its current target of 28 per cent, revised down from 2012’s target of 40 per cent, and also failing to hit its target of missed recycling collections by more than double.

Council officers have called for “a significant change in policy” to address the issue, suggesting food waste collection and fortnightly refuse collections to boost rates.

Conservative environment spokesman Tony Janio said his group would not support fortnightly waste collections as it unfairly penalised residents while Labour agree it would not be workable or cost effective.

He added: “We raised this very issue at a recent committee which highlighted the many areas where the council simply is not meeting the mark by which we would want to serve our residents.

“If this wasn’t in the public sector, Labour would be running a failed business – as it happens they are just a failed party.”

GMB branch secretary Mark Turner said: “One of the fundamental problems going on in that service is the lack of staff and resources, current staffing levels are appalling.

“Currently we have managers going out, driving and loading bins on to the vehicles, it hasn’t been that bad for years.

“They need to make sure the right level of staffing and vehicles are available so that our members can go out and do the work.”

Councillor Gill Mitchell, environment committee chairwoman, said: “We have introduced a number of initiatives that are helping to improve our recycling rates, the initial signs are really promising.

“It is a challenge to keep basic services going during budget reductions, but we are also introducing ways to generate income.

“Comparing Brighton and Hove with neighbours is not an ideal way of assessing our performance because it is not comparing like with like.”, some areas are more rural and collect high amounts of green waste.”

ANGER OVER COMMUNAL BIN PLAN FOR HISTORIC SQUARES

PLANS to introduce large recycling bins in historic seafront squares are facing angry opposition.

Brighton and Hove City Council has launched a consultation but the move to hold the process over the summer has been criticised with ward councillors claiming the administration was “shamelessly burying bad news” and not offering residents enough choice.

Palmeira, Brunswick and Sussex squares and surrounding streets could all receive new roadside communal bins for recycling under the proposals.

Resident Mike Kingston said: “The idea was brought up again a few years ago when representative of the council gave specific and unequivocal assurances in public meetings that any future consultations would include maintaining the present system of collection from bin stores.

“The consultation now received contains no such alternative.”

This option is being left out due to health and safety.

The authority has agreed to extend the consultation through to September 18.

The scheme, which was first launched in parts of the city five years ago, could also be expanded into Viaduct Road and Beaconsfield Road and Westbourne Street.

Fiona Bower, chairwoman of the Friends of Brunswick Square and Terrace, said: “The actual process has been a case study in how not to run a consultation: they have failed in their duty to run a fair consultation.”

But Green councillors have claimed that the Labour-run council is seeking to minimise opposition by conducting the consultation when many residents are likely to be away.

They also warned that extending the deadline will require further letters being sent to residents at more cost to the taxpayer.

Councillor Phelim MacCafferty, ward councillor for Brunswick and Adelaide, said: “This is an outrageously underhand way for the council to behave, which shows a complete disregard for the views of residents in the area. Once again, we see Labour putting the con in consultation, using every trick in the book to ignore and dismiss public opinion.”

Christmas tree recycling points open

From Brighton and Hove News

People were urged to recycle their Christmas trees at one of the recycling sites across Brighton and Hove.

Brighton and Hove City Council said that people could leave real trees at the sites from Monday 28 December.

The council said: “Every tree we collect will be turned into soil improver or compost and prevents more waste going to landfill.

“The Christmas tree recycling sites will be open from Monday 28 December 2015 to Friday 15 January 2016.

“You can also take trees to the green waste recycling section at one of our recycling centres throughout the year.

“We send them to a composting facility to be composted along with all of the other garden waste from the recycling centres.

“This goes through a composting process and turned into a soil conditioner which is then bagged and sold.

“Members of the public can buy this soil conditioner called ‘Pro Grow’ from any of the recycling centres and put on their gardens to improve the condition of their soil.”

The closest points to the SRRA area are –

  • Hollingbury Park, Ditchling Road – north entrance, opposite golf course entrance.
  • The Level, Union Road – behind the recycling point.
  • Preston Park, Preston Drove – north entrance, next to recycling site.

For full details click here.

Wheelie bins recycling trial

From The Argus

Wheelie bins trial at 4,500 homes to help Brighton and Hove improve its recycling rates

A wheelie bin outside a Brighton home

A wheelie bin outside a Brighton home

WHEELIE bins are set to be trialled in a bid to raise Brighton and Hove’s faltering recycling rates.

Brighton and Hove City Council is proposing bringing in wheelie bins to replace black boxes at 4,500 homes in the Hangleton and Portslade areas of the city.

The local authority is one of the worst-performing in the country with just over 25 per cent of all domestic waste being recycled.

But union bosses have warned that the changes will have very little impact and called on councillors to “be bold” in bringing in more radical solutions for more frequent collections and food waste collection.

The proposed changes, if agreed by the council’s environment, transport and sustainability committee next week, could be rolled out in November.

It is proposed that the £135,000 funding for the scheme will come from reserves and could be paid back in credits obtained from improving recycling rates.

The new scheme, which will begin in areas of the city where most properties have sufficient outside space to store an additional bin, has been made possible by the recent purchase of new refuse vehicles.

Council officers have said the wheelie bins will be easier for residents to use, give them increased storage and improve efficiency.

The wheelie bins will also provide better protection from the elements keeping paper and cardboard dry during downpours and stop recycling littering streets after being blown out of the boxes.

Sodden paper and cardboard is generally not recycled at present.

Wheelie bins will be used to store paper, card, cans and plastic bottles for recycling but glass will need to be collected separately

Councillors have been warned the changes could mean the quality of recycling going down as collection crews will not be able to easily spot contaminations.

To combat that possibility, the council will be spending up to £26,000 on communication and education on what materials should be put in the bins.

Mark Turner, GMB branch secretary, said councillors need to be more bold and find sufficient resources to fund a citywide food waste service, consider more regular collections and be “more robust” in enforcement with residents who do not follow recycling rules.

Councillor Gill Mitchell, chairwoman of the environment, transport and sustainability committee said: “We know there is a strong demand from residents living in suburban areas of the city for recycling wheelie bins.

“This could be a major step towards our commitment to provide a more ‘tailor made’ recycling service for all our residents.”