Thursday, January 3, 2008

The rise of the wheelie bin

In Tunbridge Wells, as in many other Council areas up and down the country, our dustbin was replaced by two ugly wheelie bins which were emptied half as often - once a fortnight. With me so far?

The reason for this was that Councils up and down the land could comply with yet another set of Government performance indicators around recycling. So residents who for years had composted their green waste now put it in a wheelie bin so that the Council could take it away and compost it for them - albeit adding hundreds of green miles in the process.

These wheelie bins mutliplied overnight - first a green one, then a brown one. The logic behind the colours was obvious - we put our our non-green waste in the green bin and our green waste in the non-green bin. Of course - simple. Could be worse. If you lived in Liverpool, your wheelie bin would be purple - then where would you be?

However, in Tunbridge Wells we should consider ourselves fortunate indeed. I see from the national press that some Councils are insisting on collecting refuse only from "standard" wheelie bins. Householders who do not have a "standard" wheelie bin are being charged up to £60 for one to be delivered.

The interesting thing is that householders who drive to their local Council's depot to collect the aforementioned "standard" wheelie bin themselves and thereby avoid the £60 charge are being turned away.

Mere taxpayers cannot be trusted to collect their own wheelie bin, under the Government's comprehensive Health and Safety legislation. Qualified Council staff must deliver these complex items of waste control technology - charging £60 for this highly technical mission.

This wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that our Government have capped Council Tax rises at 5% leaving local authorities with less money and higher costs? Or would it?

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