Edinburgh waste collection is rubbish!
I want to be re-incarnated as a bin man, or, rather, in these days of politically correct jargon, a sexually neutral waste disposal operative. I have loads of experience – what with carting our rubbish to a council tip week after week.
What a great life these people have over the festive period. They enjoy the same time off as everybody else and then all those little extras – whenthere is too much snow, the pitter patter of heavy sleet, ice on the pavement, a strike or one of the myriad of reasons they seem to have for not showing up to work.This particular festive season will stay in my mind for a very long time, for all the wrong reasons. The gap between collections of our wheelie bin was 22 days. We took it to a dump ourselves. The recycling didn’t come on the allotted day so I took it myself. Guess what? They came 48 hours late.
Edinburgh City Council has decided to only empty our domestic bin fortnightly. It’s bad enough leaving stuff to fester in a wheelie bin for one week. The thought of leaving it for two weeks turns my stomach. It really does. We already have all the fun of sifting through our rubbish, sorting the paper, cartons, tin and glass from the smelly, rotten leftovers. All the council has to do is drive it away … occasionally. What do they pay our public servants for exactly? We spend hour after hour, day after day, sorting the wheat from the chaff, rifling through our bags to remove the glass from the paper, the cardboard from the onion peel. And they get paid for our work.
It’s not fair.
The message is: “Listen, folks, recycling is where it’s at. So, we are going to charge you exactly the same council tax but leave a stinking pile of rubbish on your doorstep for two weeks instead of one. OK? Fine.” This is a clever scheme. It means we are doing a large part of the bin men’s job for them. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in recycling. Landfill sites have had it. We are all doomed if we carry on the way we’ve been going. But as the wee dug Churchill says in the car insurance ad: “Steady”. It takes time to change the habits of a lifetime.
I am fortunate enough to have been trained by very own recycling fairy. This is how it goes in our house: I take a tin of tuna, give some of it to my dog for his dinner, go to throw the tin out into the bin when this stentorian voice bawls: “Stop right there” before grabbing the offending article from my clutches. It’s the same with beer or wine bottles. I clean them, go to chuck them in the bin when, lo and behold, they too are grabbed from my hand by a whirling dervish on legs.
The other evening I managed, with great difficulty, to pull corrugated metal tops off two used beer bottles which had been opened and drunk, the empty ones left in a neat row on the worktop with the tops stuck back on. OK, I thought, by all means recycle the empty bottles but not with the tops still in place. How wrong could I be? Whoosh, the big, hairy recycling fairy grabbed them out of my hand – only to rush out to the conservatory with said tiny items and place them in one of the many boxes, kindly left for us by the wretched council. Red ones, blue ones, brown ones, sacks for newspapers, little grey bins for food. On their last visit, Edinburgh City Council emptied the inner basket into the lorry and drove off with it.
Some would say we pay an average amount in council tax. I happen to think it is an obscene sum. Still, I have always assumed that the fact I had always paid up would stand me in good stead.
Winter is bad enough but do you really fancy a pile of rotting food and nappies sitting outside your house for two weeks at the height of summer. It is quite the most revolting arrangement I have heard in a long time. Politicians are assuming that once your average Hamish and Jean learn to separate plastic, glass and paper, they will realise there isn’t a lot left in their normal household rubbish bin. Therefore, a domestic collection once a fortnight will suffice. Wrong. Yes, I know that across Scotland, the problem of landfill sites needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. We have to recycle far more. We know that. So, give us all blue bins or boxes and let us do your dirty work for you, but don’t, repeat don’t, cut our household rubbish service from weekly to fortnightly and dress it up as recycling.
If local authorities want us to continue to do their dirty work for them, they can pay us for it and reduce our council tax.
Article Focus: Edinburgh waste collection .
Photo credit: practicalowl on Flickr