Wiganers have delivered their verdict on the borough’s new bin-emptying regime - and they don’t like it.
Readers took to WiganToday's Facebook page in record numbers, mainly to protest that the rota shake-up, which has seen the black bin for non-recyclables collected only once every three weeks instead of two, has not worked well and, in places, there are bins overflowing and hygiene issues are on the increase.
The scheme - which has also seen the brown bin (for plastics and glass) collected three instead of two weekly but the blue (for cardboard and paper) go from four to three-week emptyings - does have its local advocates though among the 2,500 who took to Facebook to answer our request for feedback.
And Wigan Council, which revised the system in order to save money but also get people recycling more (so saving the authority more cash in landfill tax for the waste it buries from the black bins) says the system is working although recognises that some people might take time to adjust.
It also today offered tips to members of the public about recycling and reminded those householders inordinately large amounts of waste that it is possible to apply for extra bins.
It should also be pointed out that the green bins - for biodegradables from the kitchen and garden and the only container which should have anything in that rots and smells - are being emptied fortnightly, just as they were before.
Some of those angry about the new set-up, however, point to the fact that recycling hasn’t been helped by losing both the Frog Lane and Orrell tips in recent years, meaning some people have long journeys to and from Kirkless at Ince (often in long queues) if they have bin overspill and larger items to get rid of.
This and the reduction in black bin collections over the year have led some to predict an increase - costly to the taxpayer as far as cleaning up is concerned - of fly-tipping.
Concerns have also been voiced that matters could get much worse over Christmas and new year when, traditionally, households produce a lot more waste than normal.
Families with small children still using nappies appear to have particular difficulty preventing their black bins from overflowing.
All households should by now have received a new two-year calendar to advise them of the revised collection rota.
The largely negative reaction does not really come as a surprise when a large majority of residents who contributed to a council consultation about the then proposed changes were against the move too.
Paul Barton, assistant director of environmental services at Wigan Council, said: “We want to thank residents for embracing the changes and for recycling more, recycling right and for doing their part of The Deal.
“The first six weeks of our new collections have gone smoothly and we anticipate a positive impact on our recycling rates as a result, which is good for our environment and for the borough. We know there are some households who are still adjusting to the changes but residents can order additional recycling bins to help with their waste disposal.
“Further recycling information and support can be accessed on our website and at libraries and life centres.”
To view your bin calendar online or to order additional recycling bins visit www.wigan.gov.uk/recycling
Here are a few of the thousands of comments we received on our Facebook page ...
Sharon Mcgarvey: “We have always recycled. But if I’m honest the three-weekly bins for black and brown is ridiculous. Brown when full, we have to use black for plastic etc...and black is extra bin bags.. so unfortunately it is not working for us. All I can envisage is fly tipping becoming a growing concern!”
Eleanor Amelia Corless: “The Black bin is full to bursting and smelly even in cold weather. With nappies it’s beyond a joke. It isn’t helping us recycle more: it’s just causing problems. We fill the brown and blue bins as it is each is overflowing. Back to fortnightly is the only way unless you want wigan full of maggots and rats by next summer.”
Cat Wingrove: “It is hard work. I already recycled as much as I could and my bin was still full at the two-week marker. Now I end up with bags of rubbish in my house in the week before bin collection and I don’t drive so I can’t take them to the tip leaving me in a bind each week. The council didn’t think this through at all.”
Chantelle Peet: “I rang up to enquire about another black bin as I had maggots all in my bin and over my garden a few weeks ago as it was overflowing and I was told to just go to the tip inbetween bin collections! I’ve got a baby and no time to be running to the tip inbetween. They questioned me about my dog’s business and it’s nothing to do with that its since I’ve had nappies in my bin and they are all bagged and double bagged now!”
Carrie Brown: “Requested a larger blue bin and a larger brown bin three months ago and still haven’t got them so I’m struggling to recycle because the bins are full with in a week. So this system is definitely not working in my household.”
Nicola-Sian Webster: “It’s disgusting! Overflowing bins, issues with maggots. I can’t allow my children to play in the garden with the state of the bins. It needs sorting out. Two-weekly was just about do-able, but three-weekly is unhygenic.”
Tracey Barker-Hall: “Take a walk down Upper Dicconson Street. The bins are overflowing in people’s front gardens. It’s disgusting to walk past and stinks. There’ll be rats everywhere!”
Emma Hutchinson: “I have always recycled and even taken yoghurt pots, boxes etc into the local nursery to use in their ‘junk modeling’ so I do nothing different now than I did before this silly three-weekly bin collection came into force, Now I need to go to Ince recycling centre to get rid of some bin bags from my black bin after week two because otherwise it would be overflowing and then the bin men wouldn’t empty it because the lid is open.”
l But there has been support:
Tracy Molyneux: “We are finding it OK. Yes, quite full nearer to bin collection day but its not a problem. We are a family of four and I’m a childminder so do have extra rubbish (nappies). I’m thinking the Christmas weeks will be a problem but we will do what we always do....go to the tip.”
Leigh Thornthwaite: “We’re managing fine with 3 adults and two children. Glad the blue bin is being emptied every three weeks as it’s always full.”
Kerry Latham: “Three-weekly has been working fine for us, a family of four. I have had to start crushing cans and bottles for the brown bin to make sure it all fits but yes it’s working fine.”
Keith Tazzer Taylor: “What you have to take into consideration is that the government have told council that there will be no funding by 2020 so they have to look at saving monies. This was the last thing Wigan Council wanted to do with front line services they’ve cut loads of jobs because of this.
“You have fewer binmen doing bigger and bigger rounds I find it ironic that some households are willing to pay private companies to take their rubbish away but if the council raised tax to cover the collection there would be a riot.”