Saturday, 2 March 2013

Now they want to collect

the rubbish once a fortnight rather than once a week. "They" of course being local government - the organisation responsible for such things. 
According to "them" the idea behind it is to "encourage people to recycle" and (this was announced as if it was an afterthought) "it will save money as well". I think we could reverse those.
Our local council, like every other council, is always looking for ways to save money. The rates continue to go up. Nobody is too sure where the money goes. I could tell them but I would not be too popular. Yes, a lot of it does get wasted.
But, back to rubbish collection. These days everyone has three rubbish bins. There is a bin for household waste, a bin for "green" waste, and a bin for "recycling".  Most people are pretty good at not mixing things up and making sure that things that can be recycled do get recycled.  The "green" waste and "recycle" bins get collected on alternate weeks.  The household one is collected weekly.
Our bins are usually filled to capacity. This is not because we generate very much rubbish ourselves (we don't) but because other people tend to add their excess to our bins. There is no way to stop this. Once the bin is on the curbside for collection they believe they have the right to fill it to capacity. 
I have little doubt they will overflow if once a fortnight collection is introduced.
And then there is the other waste. Our council has stopped having what they once called "hard rubbish" collections. This was one week in the year when people could put out things that should not go in the bins. People put out old sofas, old chairs, tables, television sets, computers, other electrical goods, bicycles that could no longer be ridden, plastic children's toys, branches too big for the bins etc. 
Oh yes it looked untidy - for a week. A lot of that was also recycled. The Senior Cat picked up a half a dozen wooden chairs one year. He has since used the sturdy timber in them to make toys for a local toy library. The previous owner of the chairs was only too happy to help transport them around the corner to the shed of a woodworker. He just had not known of anyone who might be able to use them  before the Senior Cat saw them lying there. Other people collected things they could use. The workers who picked the rubbish up used to complain that there was not much left for them to salvage. 
I suspect that this is why they stopped that collection. The council was not really interested in people being able to remove such things from their property unless the council workers could make something out of it. Now, if you want to remove such things, you can phone and ask (beg) the council to remove it. You can do this once a year - for a fee. If  you are fit enough and own a trailer you are expected to take it to the closest landfill and pay a fee to leave it there.
I do not doubt that, as a society, we generate far too much waste.  It is difficult to know what to do with something like an old toaster. Once someone would have replaced an element and it would have gone on working for a few more years. Now it is "not worth repairing" - or rather, it costs more to repair than to replace.  I don't like that even while I recognise that this is how some people are employed.
But the idea of a fortnightly rubbish collection disturbs me. Even if the bins are not overflowing (and I think they would be) there are health issues.  "Wrap it up" or "seal it" is not always going to be the answer - even if everyone did the right thing. If, as we did this summer, have days on end of high temperatures then the bins are going to smell even more than they do know. They will be a breeding ground for disease and vermin even more than they are now because not everyone is going to do the right thing. 
But I doubt the council will care. The money is needed - to waste on other things.


JO said...

There was a big hoo-ha here when we moved to fortnightly rubbish collections, but within a month we wondered what all the fuss was about.

I take your point about this mismanagement of funds, but sorting rubbish really isn't a problem.

Jan said...

Rubbish fortnightly would probably lead to more dumping around here. Laziness and a transitory population often sees discarded furniture etc. left on footpath or in dead end streets.

Not really necessary either. The council does two free big pickups a year of such stuff, there are several free individual pickups allowed per address and bulky things like old fridges, stoves etc will be picked up for a fee. I think the fee is $35 but that's often easier to pay than to deal with the whatever it is.