As local councils pull their belts tighter in the face of tougher budgets, the move to fortnightly domestic waste collections has attracted criticism from many quarters.
It’s a complex issue that needs a wider debate, but the argument put forward the most by residents living at the sharp end is that uncollected rubbish attracts vermin such as rats and seagulls.
Even the most cursory of Google searches finds a host of news reports from local newspapers up and down the country in which people are complaining about problems caused by the longer period between collections. For example, the Salisbury Journal on July 2013 takes issue with ″rats and maggots″ as residents call for Wiltshire Council to return to weekly collections to fight ″piles of stinking rubbish that attract flies″.
While fortnightly collections have their supporters – we live in a forntightly collection area where we’ve barely heard a squeak of criticism – it all depends on the collection regime that’s in place. And if the councils get it wrong, then the complaints are going to come rolling in.
A further look into the problem is that while these residents have been moved to fortnightly waste collections, their refuse appears to be still collected from bags rather than bins.
The reason, then, that our fortnightly collections remain popular, while there are screams of anguish elsewhere in the country, is that some councils provided wheeled bins for their residents, while others insist that they use officially-supplied plastic bags.
And that opens up whole new arguments. Supplying wheeled bins to every household in an average-sized town of say 60,000 residents is an expensive capital outlay for any council (not to mention collection vehicles capable of handling them), and while this will end complaints about rubbish smells and vermin virtually overnight, not every authority has the budget or willingness to make this step.
It’s going to remain a contentious issue for some time. However, we think that in the current financial climate, fortnightly collections are a necessary evil, but only if they are handled properly and will all due care to the health and safety of residents.
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