Wigan council see 95 per cent increase in complaints over bins

Complaints to Wigan council about bin collections have risen by more than 95 per cent since the introduction of the three week collection rota last year.
Complaints have risen since the introduction of the new rotaComplaints have risen since the introduction of the new rota
Complaints have risen since the introduction of the new rota

Figures released to the Observer under the Freedom of Information Act show that the number of residents complaining to Wigan Council about their bin collections almost doubled in the first three months of the new collections, compared to the three months leading up to the change.

However, compared to the huge number of collections made each week, the grouses were relatively few and far between rising from 21 to 41.

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The new regime, which was introduced in late September, sees the black bin for non-recyclable items only emptied once every three weeks instead of two, but the blue bin for card and paper emptied more regularly.

Since the start date, 41 official complaints were sent to the town hall, versus just 21 sent between July and September - an increase of 95.2 per cent.

In just three months, the number of complaints almost matched the total from the rest of the year combined. Fifty disgruntled residents voiced their disapproval about bin collection services between the start of the year and September, just nine more complaints than the three month end-of-year period.

The complaints received about the three week rotas came in a variety of mediums. Seven emails were sent, 18 phone calls were made, 15 people took to the council website to raise the issue, and one person even went out of their way to send a good old-fashioned letter to the town hall.

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Last November, just six weeks after the new rota was brought into effect, the Observer invited Wiganers to share their thoughts on the changes.

More than 1,700 people responded, the majority of which did so angrily. Concerns ranged from a lack of consideration for large families who produce more waste, to the threats of an increase in fly-tipping.

The complaints, however, represent a tiny fraction of residents. Over 2.5m bin collections were carried out from 135,000 households in the first three months since the changes.

Paul Barton, Wigan Council’s assistant director for environmental services, said that while complaints had slightly risen, so had recycling rates.

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He said: “Initial figures show that recycling rates have increased meaning the council is on track to meet recycling targets and avoid heavy fines from the government.

“This means we can keep council tax low and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. When a resident has complained we always take steps to address their concerns and help them with recycling.

“This can include a waste audit or assistance with their collection. The number of complaints is extremely low compared to the number of households we collect from.”

For more information about recycling visit this link

From January 2018 caddy liners will be delivered to all households by Wigan Council’s waste crews meaning residents no longer need to purchase their own or collect liners from life centres or libraries.

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It is hoped this will make it easier for residents to recycle their food waste in the kitchen caddy before putting it in the green bin saving space in the black bin.

To let the crews know you need a new roll of liners, tie a caddy liner to the handle of your green bin on collection day. When the crews come to empty the bins they will leave a new set of liners.

You can order a kitchen caddy via My Account here