Someone in the know has provided me with a copy of a briefing sent around to Councillors last week on the subject of the new black bins.
I don't think there's a huge amount of interesting material in there other than the discussion on how the new black bins are going to be allocated. It seems that the majority of them will go to the "54,000 households [that] received a letter and questionnaire at the beginning of October."
So who are those 54,000 households and why were they chosen to get the survey?
It's worth noting that the "background" to the briefing talks about the problems with ripped black sacks and sacks out on the wrong week and not about those residents who ignore the scheme and fill the wrong bins with the wrong rubbish.
Is that the Council trying to hide the fact that it's bringing black sack bins in to deal with those that it's shown an inability to deal with over the last year?
Or are the black bins only aimed at the "sacks in the street" issue, which generates an extra 1/2 a bin collection a week, and not at the more costly "contaminated bins" problem which is causing them to send an extra collection lorry out every week?
Personally I can't see the black bins helping the latter problem very much at all. At the moment people put can't, or won't, follow what bin to put what rubbish in when they've only got two of them. How is giving them a third bin to further complicate matters going to help?
If they do then put all their rubbish in the black bin then they're going to fill it up within a week (witness the green bins over spilling every Monday) and the extra weekly collection will have to continue.
Councillor Parker has said that he believes the extra bin will help matters because "it will assist those who are reluctant to place residual waste in black sacks. Typically this means putting plastic in the green and kitchen waste bin and food waste into the dry recycling bin.
Is the problem really with those who have lots of black sack waste or those who simply don't care what colour bin they put it in because they know the Council will send around extra bin lorries to take care of it?
Time will tell...
The Introduction of Black Topped Bins
Waste Briefing – 7th January 2009
1.1. The new waste collection service was introduced on 21 January 2008. This initially consisted of weekly collections of mixed dry recycling from blue-top bins, weekly collections of green and kitchen waste and fortnightly collections of residual waste from black sacks. There were problems with black bags being put out on days other than the collection day and then being ripped open.
1.2. As a result it has been agreed to replace the black bags with black-topped bins. A consultation process has been carried out to find out what bins people want.
2. Bin Consultation Process
2.1. All households originally provided with a Red Top bin (approx 6,000) have received a letter and questionnaire. Approximately 160 households requested the removal of their bin and this has been undertaken. Other bins will be converted in accordance with household requests during the bins delivery programme commencing in January.
2.2. A survey was undertaken to re-identify properties that have nowhere to store their bins, or are in multiple occupation and may wish to share bins or need arrangements specific to their needs. A programme to provide the configuration of bins/sacks best suited to their needs is 75% complete and we expect to finish this by early February 2009.
2.3. Approximately 54,000 households received a letter and questionnaire at the beginning of October. This questionnaire invited households to specify what size Black Top bin they require (140 litre, 240 litre, or none) and identify any changes they require surrounding their Green Top bin.
2.4. The questionnaire was also made available as an e-form on the Council’s website and approximately 1500 residents used this facility.
2.5. Blue-top bins were not included in this exercise and deliveries will continue to be made in response to requests through the Contact Centre.
2.6. Households that did not return their questionnaire within three weeks received a reminder and a further copy of the questionnaire. Since mid November, Contact Centre and Waste service staff have been telephoning residents who did not responded during the evenings (from mid November onwards) to complete their questionnaire. Limiting the number of non-responses in this way is likely to reduce the level of calls in Feb/March when the bins are delivered to those who have responded.
2.7.Nearly 40,000 responses have been received including those on the website.
2.8. Of these, approximately 16,000 have requested 240 litre black top bins, 14,750 have requested 140 litre black top bins
2.9. In addition approximately 9,500 residents have requested a smaller, 140 litre bin for their kitchen and garden waste.
2.10. The order schedule will allow for additional requests from residents, based upon the survey results. Following the consultation, residents will still be able to register their bin requirements and changes. However, residents who have not returned their questionnaire by 31 December 2008 may have to wait until after the main delivery programme in January to March 2009 before receiving their bins.
3. Planning for Deliveries
3.1. The delivery programme will be undertaken by a specialist bin delivery company and will commence in mid January and is scheduled at the end of March 2009. They will be provided with detailed delivery sheets generated from the survey results and supervised by Greenwich Council staff. Waste Services will have a team to pick up any urgent issues that can not be met within the main programme. In case of problems with deliveries (due to bad weather or other slippages in the delivery programme) space for a week’s delivery of wheeled bins is being identified at Birchmere Depot. Should further problems occur, arrangements can be made to store bins temporarily at Tilbury docks.