We’re talking rubbish…

Nice to see the Council will attract some additional funding as a result of your efforts with recycling.

Pat yourselves gently on the back!


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19 Responses to We’re talking rubbish…

  1. Feverfew says:

    What an appropriate headline for this item. While the money is no doubt welcome in these straightened times, I have to say I find the whole idea of weekly bin collections in the name of the environment contradictory. That may be why only 13% of local authorities have signed up for Pickles’ extraordinarily wrong-headed initiative. First, councils should be encouraging the production of less waste, as Labour’s shadow minister for waste Gavin Shuker has already pointed out, and research suggests that weekly bin collections actually have the opposite effect. What is more, having huge bin lorries thundering up and down our roads is not in the best interests of residents or the environment.
    Has anyone actually bothered to ask residents whether they want to go to the trouble of wheeling out up to four different waste containers to the front of their houses every week – not to mention running the risk of a pompous note from Serco if you have the temerity to put your bins out the day before collection, or fail to bring them in the following day promptly? Do the majority of homes in Bearwood (comprising 2- and 3-bedroomed houses) really produce enough rubbish to fill two large wheelie bins a week, plus a slop bucket? I simply don’t believe it, and I must say I find myself mystified why our council is so enthusistically taking this money when it turned down Portas money recently. Ok, the amounts differ widely (£1,065,000 for waste collection and £13,000 for Portas) but even so, I’d love to know why this fund is somehow different from the £5.5 million available for unsuccessful Portas bids, which was described as ‘Tory propaganda’ by Steve Eling.
    Eric Pickles has said there is ‘no plausible reason’ why councils shouldn’t deliver weekly bin collections ‘to hard-working residents’ (btw, I wonder if Serco will start to distinguish between the hard-working residents and the lazy and feckless?). But more to the point, I can think of a very plausible reason for not wasting money on weekly bin collections that are neither needed nor wanted and that is the £50 million cut in central government funding: there must surely better ways in which this moey can be spent.
    This scheme is all about Pickles’ desire to make a visible impact, and nothing to do with prioritising services that are being cut such as libraries and mental healthcare. Any sensible council would be looking at providing a perfectly adequate service by alternating weekly collections of ordinary rubbish and recyclables, as many councils around the country already do: take for example South Oxfordshire which moved from weekly collections of everything to fortnightly collections of recyclables one week and landfill the next, which cut costs.
    And quite where this leaves the localism agenda is another matter: government by central diktat seems to be the order of the day at present.

    • Bob says:

      We aren’t recycling at the diktat of Pickles, we were doing it before he was even a minister. Not recycling will mean extra landfill tax and higher council tax bills. More to do with the EU than the clown Pickles.

  2. Keith Bracey says:

    Hear, hear ‘Feverfew’ could not have put it better myself…..having worked for Knowaste, the nappy recycler based in Kelvin Way, West Bromwich, perhaps we should also ask why Sandwell MBC are not encouraging the collection of nappies and other Absorbent Hygiene Products, (AHP’s) to support this fantastic innovative business right here on our doostep in West Bromwich?
    Nappies are not an easy waste stream to deal with in normal bin collections….why not initiate a nappy collection service to mitigate the contaminating effect of nappies and AHP’s in weekly waste collections…..? Just a thought………

  3. Feverfew says:

    It’s true I wasn’t arguing for more bins, I was arguing for fewer collections, but that would not preclude nappy collections, and if such a collection were to involve a local firm as Keith suggests, so much the better. I would welcome it. It would certainly increase Sandwell’s recycling credentials.
    But more importantly, Bob, you are misrepresenting my comments by suggesting I am recommending less recycling. Clearly, that is not what my comment is about. I am arguing for the same degree (or more) recyling, but alternating ordinary waste and recyling collections, as happens presently in a large number of local authorities. This would reduce the impact of the movement of large collection lorries on the local environment.
    The weekly-collection diktat is most certainly of Pickles’ creation, unless you are now suggesting that the EU is enforcing weekly collections. This is simply not the case, as you must surely know. The council could continue to recycle using fortnightly collections and still meet the EU’s landfill requirements.
    I also have to question how weekly collections will be sustained after the year’s money has expired. Best guess is that residents will start to pay more in council tax to sustain this pointless and unwanted service. Besides, what is the point of local democracy if something so trivial is mandated from central government?
    What is needed is a service that is appropriate to the needs of residents, not one that plays into the ‘Tory propaganda machine’ (not my words). Ultimately, a really active council would be going beyond party politics by looking at reducing the environmental impact of waste collection, encouraging lower consumption, supporting local food co-operatives (less packaging) and working for a zero-waste economy with use of community composting sites and recycling facilities.

    • Bob says:

      Weekly collection would be sustained, with or without Pickles’ intervention. We have a contract which includes weekly collection. Perhaps you will reveal your source for the statement that the weekly collection of domestic refuse is “unwanted”. Are you seriously saying that Pickles is trying to impose weekly collections in those authorities who have moved away from it (on the basis of cost, not protecting the environment from collection wagons) because he is aware that weekly collection is really “unwanted”?

      So, leave party politics out of it… why don’t you stand in the next election on a ticket of getting rid of weekly domestic bin collections? As you have told people you think Abbey Ward councillors have been voted in for too long… you could test the water and see how popular your suggestion is.

      • Feverfew says:

        Well Bob, your reply did raise a smile here, so thanks for cheering up my evening. And I also really appreciate the opportunity to have my say on your blog, and applaud your commitment to free speech. But let’s just make one thing clear: I am proposing alternate weekly collections of household waste and recycling waste, not ‘getting rid of weekly bin collections’. I remain curious as to why the environmental impact of weekly collections of both types of waste is of no concern to you. And I could equally ask for your evidence that weekly collections of both types of waste are desired by residents. However, it’s a shame you don’t pick up on my suggestions for community recycling which could raise the amount of waste that is recycled.
        I think we both know what Eric Pickles’ agenda is; I’m just disappointed that the Labour councillors in Abbey Ward are signed up to it.
        Finally, can you point me to where I claim that Abbey Ward councillors have been voted in for too long? I’d be really interested to know your source for that comment!

      • Bob says:

        No problem with the free speech bit. As long as people avoid abuse, I’m ok with people not agreeing with each other.

        Actually, I don’t necessarily disagree with you on alternate weekly collections, but every time the prospect of abandoning weekly collection of domestic refuse is raised, all hell is let loose and letters start flooding in complaining. We haven’t had a referendum, so neither of us can prove whether it is “unwanted” or “wanted”… but it was you who made the assertion. My point was that we weren’t dancing to Pickles’ tune. We got the million quid for increasing our recycling, not for retaining weekly collection.

        It might be worth running a poll on here to see what people think, although the possibility of getting the Council to change the Serco contract on the basis of an unscientific blog poll is probably a bit unlikely.

        On the “councillors been voted in for too long”, perhaps I am confusing you with someone else who wrote something along those lines, so if I’ve wrongly attributed the quote to you, my apologies… although, of course if that is your view you are perfectly welcome to hold it.

      • Keith Bracey says:

        Hear hear and thrice hear hear Feverfew…….we put our grey wheelie bin out every other week as it’ is never full enough to be emptied every week. Where do all these Sandwell residents get enough rubbish for a weekly grey bin collection? If they were recycling properly they should get their blue lid wheelie bin emptied every week. Bring on alternate weekly collections and a nappy collection to support Knowaste who are helping create local jobs

      • Steve Eling says:

        I always think its better to know what you are talking about before you start writing in public.

        So, to start with lets deal with this Portas myth. Sandwell Council was never offered any Portas money to be able to turn it down. This has been made very clear on many occasions, but clearly some people have only read or only listened to what they wanted to read or hear. So let me state it again. Sandwell Council was never offered any Portas money. Sandwell Council did not turn down any Portas money because Sandwell Council was never offered any Portas money in the first place. I said it was a Tory gimmick because that is what I believe. I would have thought me expressing my view would have been welcomed by those whom applaud free speech.

        On weekly collections. Sandwell did not need to be persuaded by Pickles to have weekly collections because Sandwell never stopped having weekly collections. Having said that, if someone does not want to put their bin out weekly, maybe because there is not much in it, then they can do that. No one will be knocking on their door demanding that they put the bin out when they don’t want to.

        Finally, the bid from Sandwell that has been successful is to increase recycling services including collection of batteries; small electrical items and nappies. The nappies will go Knowaste. It also includes education around recycling and waste reduction. These are the things Sandwell bid for – hardly about Pickle’s chicken tika masarla mouldering in the bin for a fortnight.

  4. Keith Bracey says:

    Great to hear that Knowaste is to receive the borough’s nappies. The company have been in Kelvin Way, West Bromwich since 2010….why has it taken Sandwell Council so long to support this innovative envrironmental business which is creating jobs in the area?

    • Steve Eling says:

      Well Keith, do you know how long Sandwell Council has been in discussion with Knowaste? I’m aware that there have been talks which resulted in the detail of the bid that was put in. As a pilot it is hoped that the results will result in other councils sending collecting and sending nappies to Knowaste.

      What I think is sad about the comments on this thread is that there seems to be only criticism when Sandwell is likely to be one of the best places in the country for recycling when the 2012-13 figures are released, based on year to date. Birmingham are getting nearly £30 million out of this fund to do what we have already done and paid for ourselves.

  5. Rebecca Schneider says:

    I also always think its (sic) better to know what you are talking about before you start writing in public. If anyone is interested in making up their own minds about whether or not Sandwell was offered Portas Funding, I am in possession of a letter from the then Minister to our MP that states amongst other things:
    “To support local activity, the Government will ensure each Town Team receives £10,000
    (via their local authority) to help put elements of their plan into action.”
    In then name of free speech I am more than happy to provide the full letter on request (bex.schneider@gmail.com).

    • Bob says:

      Nice to hear from you Rebecca. I think you will find Councillor Eling said Sandwell Council was not offered £10,000. Where in that quote does it say the Council was offered £10,000?

      On a slightly different subject When is your draft constitution being delivered for consultation? I know you were tasked as the grandly titled ‘Interim Secretariat’ with drafting it nearly 5 months ago and I wait anxiously by my letter box each morning, but alas, it appears to have missed my home. In then (sic) name of free speech I can copy the appropriate minute where this was agreed as an action if you wish.

    • Steve Eling says:

      Why not post it on here Rebecca. Then everyone can see it in an open way, including local councillors who seem to have been missed off the minister’s circulation list.

      Bearwood people will then be able to see that nowhere does it say that any money is being offered to Sandwell Council, or me.

    • Keith Bracey says:

      It seems to me that these posts are turning into some sort of Sandwell Councillor’s mutual appreciation society IMO…..I applaud Sandwell Council for upping recycling rates but why not take a local lead as Councillor Darren Cooper, leader of the Council did with the appalling treatment of Sandwell Schools, when they were knocked back in trying to obtain ‘Building Schools from the Future’ (BSF) monies from the ConDem Coalition for their rebuilding and refurbishment, for example at Perryfields High School where the kids are being taught in condemned portakabins….this was an opportunity to nail Pickles lie that everyone wants weekly bin collections once and for all, and the council appears to have bottled it and been ‘bought off’ by Pickles promise of a paltry amount of money…..? AND while I am on a roll, I would love to get involved with local politics, however when I enquired about getting involved in Sandwell I was told that due to the ‘arcane ethnic politics’ locally it is a waste of time…..is that any way to encourage people who want to try to make a difference……? Oh and, yes Steve I do agree that there have been many ‘false dawns’ with Knowaste, with them often trying to ‘run before they could walk’ so to speak, so the fault may lie on both sides………?

      • Bob says:

        Keith, I don’t want to prolong this because you are obviously not paying attention. We have NOT had any money for retaining weekly collection. Persisting with that central myth rather devalues the rest of the point you are attempting to make.

        Also, if you look at the Council Wards within easy reach of where you live, Abbey, Smethwick, Old Warley, Soho Victoria and Bristnall, out of 15 councillors in those Wards, there is one councillor from the black ethnic minority population, so if there are ‘arcane ethnic politics’ they are spectacularly unsuccessful… or you are simply spreading another myth.

        Finally, I hardly think we need to apologise for local councillors posting on here. The clue is contained in the wording on at the top of the front page…the blog of the Sandwell Abbey Ward Labour councillors.

  6. richard says:

    Keith- not sure exactly what your trying to say here, but as a Governor at Perrys I would like to make it clear that kids are no longer being taught in portakabins, thanks in the main to Cllr Eling who played a major role from the outset to deliver over the summer a brand new 28 classroom teaching block . This unique scheme was delivered on time and in budget and is a credit to Sandwell and all the many individuals involved in its delivery and was a main factor in keeping the best performing school in the area where it should be, within the control of the LEA

    • Steve Eling says:

      Thanks for that correction Richard. As I said earlier, it’s best to make sure you know what you are talking about before committing to writing.

      Ignorance is always the biggest enemy of the truth.

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