Friday, 20 December 2013

Wheelie Bins.

One of my favourite newspaper columnists is Richard Littlejohn, and one of his favourite topics is the incompetence and stupidity of local authorities.

Mine too!

Let's face it, it's a superbly rich vein of humour that the buerocrats who think they run our lives continue to enhance without realising what they're doing. They pontificate about everything from CO2 emmisions, to recycling of just about everything and how you should do it, to their pet love of "diversity" and discrimination. Kent County Council actually has more hotlines for Gay / Lesbian / Transexual etc that for any other aspect of its services, but that's not the point.

My own local council in Eastleigh is much like any other local council. It's website tells me how wonderful it is and how much they concentrate on the poor, the deprived, the sexually otherwise oriented and illegal immigrants. Unfortunately I don't come under any of those catagories (except poor!), so I just have to pay wads of money and let them distribute it to whoever they feel fit.

Refuse collection always used to be the local authority priority, along with filling in holes in the road, now it seems to be biodiversity.... whatever that means!

There was a time when we had a weekly collection of refuse... full stop. Then we were given two wheelie bins. One was for non-recyclable refuse (black) and the second was for stuff such as plastics and paper. Fair enough, but we were also moved to collections for each type of bin onto a fortnightly basis, which means that the non-recyclable black bin can have maggoty refuse up to 14 days old which, while unpleasant for us, must be even worse for the bin men. The green bin for recyclable stuff, like paper and cardboard isn't so bad, but we have to be SO careful not to "contaminate" the recyclable bin with a cardboard pizza box, for instance. Instant £80 fine!

The trouble is many of the councils either put the whole lot into landfill. regardless of the bin colours, nd some even ship it to China..... out of sight, out of mind, presumably! So far none have used refuse to fill the holes in the road, but give them time.

Some 4 to 5 years ago they decided to give us large green sacks for garden waste collection. A great idea, but the council decided to charge us. For 3 sacks collected every week I was charged just over 50 pounds a year. That has increased to seventy pounds over the years. I have to admit the service has been great and I have been happy to fill my sacks with leaves and have them taken away every Monday morning to the leaves Happy Hunting Ground. 

Then a note came through the door this week.

From the 1st of April (and I'm no fool) the council will provide me with a brown wheelie bin wich will replace the sacks. Each bin will take 30% more than a sack, but I will still need to have 3 bins to repalce my 3 sacks. Unfortunately they will now only be emptied fortnightly, but will still cost roughly the same as my 3 weekly bags used to. Effectively the council has doubled the price of an already expensive garden refuse service, that other councils give free.

I'll therefore have a whole family of 5 wheelie bins, plus a smaller one for food refuse (that I don't use) and two crates for glass and bottles. Trying to remember which day each of these (and now which week)  these should go out onto our pavement is becoming a chore and I can't help thinking that elderly folk may get totally confused and put out garden refuse on a paper recyclable day. An instant £80 fine if ever there was one!

My life is now ruled by wheelie bins and differing collection days of the week.... and I know I'm going to get it wrong, so it's time to start saving!

Blog on, Dudes!


  1. Things aren't much different over here. For a household of two with a log-burning stove, it isn't too bad; Anything burnable goes for fire-lighting. I'm a recycling fanatic but I hate to think how it must be for larger households with the same fortnightly collection for perishable. We make compost but admit that two-week-old fishbones smell pretty ripe. The only good thing is that we have a recycling centre just up the road that is very well-run and handles almost everything.

    1. We have a recycling center about 8 miles away and I sometimes have to resort to going there, Cameron. Oh well!

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  3. Oh goodness, Richard, we have the same thing here in Holland. I nearly go nuts trying to sort out which week it is. We have blue for paper and cardboard (once a month on the last Saturday of the month - try remembering that!), green for garden waste (once a fortnight on odd Monday mornings - early) and grey for the rest (once a fortnight on even Monday afternoons). Glass and plastic have to be taken to bins in a central location. The problem is remembering which is the odd and even Mondays, remembering that the odd ones are early in the morning, and that some months have more than two of whatever Monday it is. Crazy! Luckily we don't have the regiment of wheelie bins that you have or I'd need a bigger passage to put them all in, and then I'd have to get permission for an extension!