With this tweet Labourâ€™s Cllr Bassam Mahfouz demonstrates that he does not understand the service that he is in charge of. Sorry, I couldn’t resist the title.
When the council works out participation rates for re-cycling it sends a man or woman with a clipboard down your street. They tick the number of re-cycling boxes or pink re-usable bags outside the houses in your street. This number gets divided by the total number of dwellings to calculate a participation rate. When Mahfouz says only 25% use the service he misunderstands completely.
We use the garden waste service 3 or 4 times a year. The rest of the year everything goes in the compost bin. It is only when we have a big day in the garden and the compost bins (we have two big ones) get filled up that we start on the re-cycling bags. It is unlikely that we would have ever have registered in any survey of participation.
This is the greenest approach. The bulk gets composted. Peaks get handled by the re-cycling service. Re-cycling all garden waste is pretty dumb. Carting around stuff that can be composted in your back garden and used there is silly.
Labourâ€™s new charge will change my behaviour. Instead of using the garden waste service 3 or 4 times a year I will simply bag up my excess in black sacks and leave it out for the bin man.
Mahfouzâ€™s changes will break something that works, reduce the recycling rate in the borough and cost money in additional land fill tax. Labour needs to think again. Threatening people that the only alternative is fortnightly collection of rubbish is just a form of bullying.
It is worth noting that the council has done well with its new contract for waste, street cleaning and grounds maintenance. It makes good a rather poor contract made by the previous Labour administration when one of the executives of the contractor was a Labour cabinet member. As a result the council is due to save Â£3.5 million from this contract. The Labour cabinet has decided to snatch another Â£1.1 million. They are pressing too hard on this universal service. They should look elsewhere and stop threatening people.
A positive approach would be to educate people about compost bins and offer a free and easy system for collecting excess. This would save the council money and maximise the best possible re-cycling – composting your own waste and re-using at home without any transport. It does involve some heavy spadework every six months or so though! The Â£40 wheelie bins will ingrain a bad habit of “re-cycling” all garden waste.