I have time to flick through Mum’s newspaper while I feed her, as she eats very slowly and doesn’t want to be rushed. Last Thursday I was dismayed to read that the cost of social care is escalating, and that several cash-strapped local councils are now only collecting rubbish once every month. Householders in Conwy in Wales are given a 240-litre black wheelie bin for general waste, three green recycling boxes for card, bottles, plastics and paper, a green caddy for food waste and those with young children can also request a large blue caddy for nappies. The recycling, food waste and nappy bins are collected weekly, but the general waste is only collected once every 4 weeks. Some households have been told there are no more nappy bins left, and they are reduced to leaving used nappies in yellow clinical waste sacks in their gardens.
Yes, the weekly bin collection disappeared several years ago, even though our council tax fees are rising. An MP for Clwyd West said there were nine separate incidents of fly tipping on a two mile stretch of road in his constituency in the first week of January. In 2015/16, 35,758 incidents of fly-tipping were recorded in Wales – the most since 2011/12.
On the day when we moved into our house in Suffolk in 1991 I counted 20 bags of rubbish by the garden gate, which were taken by the dustmen on their weekly trip with not even a murmur. Now they arrive once every fortnight, and refuse to take any rubbish left lying around the bin unless it is in ‘authorised’ sacks, which we have to pay for. It is normal for us to empty our black bin after one week and take the contents to the local tip, as the bin given to us by the council is too small. One council tip near to us has closed, and we are now forced to drive 12 miles to the only tip available.
What happens if people are unable to drive to a local tip? They are perhaps reduced to burning rubbish in the garden, or asking a neighbour for some space in their bin. The whole situation is ludicrous, and could possibly cause health and safety issues, especially in hot weather. Granted, parents can use terry nappies instead of disposable ones like I did back in the 1980’s (do parents use terry nappies these days?) and therefore do away with the yellow sacks, but hey, we shouldn’t have to live this way. This new schedule for emptying dustbins is a whole load of rubbish!
How often do the dustmen empty your bins? With me it’s once a fortnight, but I’m dreading that letter falling onto the doormat which carries a title ‘New instructions for refuse collections’.