September 18, 2008

Neighbours’ Good Deed Ends in Anger


Two Torquay residents tidied up their street only for the council to refuse to take the rubbish.

Trevor Hurling and neighbour Penny Meredith of Venford Close heard about the national Big Tidy Up campaign and decided to clean up their street.

But were shocked when the council then refused to take the waste away.

Trevor said: "The street looked a mess, and we thought 'let's sort it out'.

"It took us about two hours to fill half of my wheeled bin with weeds and other waste from the street."

But on bin day Trevor's bin, containing all the weeds they'd pulled, wasn't emptied.

Trevor was further angered when he phoned the council to complained about his unemptied bin and claims to have been told: "It serves you right for doing a good deed."

It was during this phone call Trevor was told his bin hadn't been emptied because it was contaminated and his options were to take it to the tip himself or pay pounds16 for someone from the council to take it away.

"How can a grey bin be contaminated? I could understand if it was a green bin, but the rubbish was in the grey bin," said Penny.

Cllr Chris Lewis explained: "While we fully appreciate the residents' intentions we would like to reiterate that putting green waste, which would normally be composted, into the grey bins ultimately costs the council more for several reasons:

"One, the grey bins provided are for household waste that is not recyclable and will go straight to landfill, for which the council is charged by the tonne. The council does not have the ability to sort this waste and therefore any green waste, which would normally be composted, ends up in landfill unnecessarily.

"Two, in order to encourage more people to keep their green waste separate the council offers a collection service at a small cost of pounds6 for eight large bags and then 50p per bag after that."

He added: "Residents can also take their green waste to the civic amenities site in Paignton and the council has more recently launched a free of charge green waste service in Brixham.

"To show its appreciation for the voluntary work carried out, the council collected the waste free of charge on this occasion."

After much wrangling the council agreed to collect the bin just two days after it should have been picked up.

However this has put Trevor and Penny off doing any further clean- up work.

Trevor said: "We were going to do more but had to stop because my bin was full. Now we won't do any more, simply because, what are we supposed to do with the rubbish?"

Cllr Lewis added: "We recommend that anyone who wishes to have their local public highway cleared of rubbish and weeds contact the council on 01803 201201 who will be happy to carry out the work and remove any green waste for composting."

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