Fly-tipping soars following roll-out of communal recycling bins

Posted On 28 May 2015 at 5:26 pm

The amount of fly-tipping in Brighton and Hove has almost doubled following the rollout of communal recycling bins last year.

communal bin 4Figures obtained by Brighton and Hove News show that in 2014, when most of the bins were introduced, 3,506 fly-tipping reports were made to the council, 86% more than the previous year. In the first three months of this year, there have already been 1,047 incidents.

The city’s 492 communal recycling bins were rolled out from October 2013 to July 2014.

For comparison, there were 1,881 reports in 2013, 1,959 in 2012 and 2,718 in 2011.

Council repairs

No earlier figures are available to compare the rates before and after communal waste bins were introduced, 150 in 2004 and 550 in 2009.

One resident who has a set of communal waste and recycling bins sited just outside his house, took this series of pictures over the course of a week showing all kind of large items, including tables, chairs, suitcases, a computer and even an old cement mixer, dumped by the bins.

He said: “As someone who lives right next to the communal bins, the problem is that there is continuous dumping noise and the bin areas are a communal dumping ground.

Communal bin 2“Many, many people throw recyclable items in the waste bins, and leave loose trash around.

“There’s no longer accountability for dumping stuff outside your house – just take it to the bins, outside my house.

“Almost every day there’s something quite nasty at the communal bins.”

Councillor Gill Mitchell, the new Labour administration’s environment chief, said the problem was caused by two different factors – bins not being emptied efficiently and people using them as a dumping ground for larger items.

She said: “We first introduced communal waste bins in the city centre in 2004, but we also made sure that any fly-tipping was quickly cleared up. You can’t always foretell when this is likely to be a problem.

Part of the problem going on from then is the wider rollout of communal bins for recycling and the fact they’re not emptied regularly.

“People have come along with bags of glasses and have dumped them down by the bins because they’re full and they have no alternative.

“Getting those basics right, getting them emptied in an effective way is a priority for us and we are meeting with officers at the moment to discuss how to get those bins emptied.

“In our manifesto we said that we wanted to get the CityClean service working better and improve recycling levels and regain trust from residents who want to recycle.

Communal bin 5“People think oh, look, there’s a bin, at some point someone will be coming along to empty it, if I leave my old computer or hoover there, it will get taken. And once one person starts putting stuff like that next to a bin, it snowballs.

“This is a very difficult thing to tackle but it’s something that we are looking to do. We have got to read up on our methods of giving people information, and where they can take their rubbish,.

“We need to crack down on this irresponsible behaviour. We do have sanctions at our disposal if we can find the people responsible.”

Communal bin 3Green councillor Louisa Greenbaum, who sits on the environment committee, said: “There is, of course, no excuse for fly-tipping, it’s illegal, unsightly and antisocial.

“Unfortunately fly-tipping has increased ever since the introduction of communal bins, first introduced by Labour in 2004.

“Sadly the national picture on fly-tipping is grim: figures from The Department for Communities state fly-tipping increased by 20% in the last year alone. The cost of clearing fly-tipping to councils in England in 2013/14 was £45.2 million.

“The Greens have consistently argued for recycling bins to be made available and this has to be accompanied by stronger work on enforcement to crack down on fly-tipping and littering.

“We have been committed to a package of improvements as part of the service redesign for Cityclean including clearer signs on communal bins about fly-tipping and highlighting ways to correctly dispose of large items.

“We hope that the new Labour administration will continue with these plans and introduce the improvements we were working on.

“Bulky items can be collected by the council contractor, taken to recycling centres or better still, many items can be handed on to others through charity shops or on-line forums like Freegle. If you spot a fly-tipper, I’d recommend they be reported, responsibly and safely to Cityclean who may be able to prosecute.”

  1. HJarrs Reply

    Never been a fan of these bins on the streets, but it seems that this is the lowest cost option for recycling at a time of constrained budgets.

    Recycling needs a complete rethink, a relaunch and enforcement. Only problem is that there ain’t no money and though I would pay more council tax to do so, that will not be happening under Labour!

    • Dreadful Substance Reply

      And recycling was an absolutely roaring success during your Green councils tenure, wasn’t it?

  2. Valerie Paynter Reply

    People were less squalid when bins were on their own doorsteps. It’s as simple as that. Plus the population density is ever increasing and we don’t have doubled space to match doubled population!

  3. Robert Reply

    The savings are surprisingly small and did not include costs such as fly tipping and impact of jobs lost and damage to road surface.

    It is very possible once the expense of maintaining bins falls on council revenue that this will become a very expensive way of missing statutory recycling targets.

    Magpie have solutions that are better value and progressive but the City Council have sold all their options to Veolia. Council and Councillors puppets to this corporations demands.

    Plenty on the link above

    • HJarrs Reply

      A fair point. I recall that Magpie made an imaginative tender, but the then Labour or Conservative administration was more than happy to provide Veoila with a 25 year(?) contract.

      Also, recycling started falling once the PFI funded recycling centre was opened!

      It needs a rethink, but where is the money to buy out the contract?

  4. feline1 Reply

    Get a grip, people – most of this flying tipping isn’t done by residents, it’s done by builders who don’t want to pay for the commercial tip. It rather gives the game away when I go to work in the morning and find a toilet, wash-hand basin or kitchen sink has mysteriously materialised by the communal bin over night. They drive round it vans at 4am dumping an item here, and item there. If Cityclean weren’t such useless muppets they’d put a watch on a few bins can catch the perpetrators.

  5. Richard Simpson Reply

    Why does the council want to criminalise residents when it’s their own stupidity of introducing communal bins and stopping doorstep collection that has caused this filthy mess. Mr Greenbaum should be made to clean up the mess he’s created.

  6. robert Reply

    So they work as a honeytrap for builders but not as a way of providing a recycling service worthy of the £150pa paid per household for waste and recycling.

    Where I live the piles of card,plastics and other stuff looks nothing like ‘chancer’ builders and is evidence of a hurried service rolled out because £800 000 had to be spent.

    How did the consultation go.. “Would you use …?” and not “Do you want …..?”. A complete and utter Mess.

    • HJarrs Reply

      I make £115 per household per year, either way, you don’t get much for £2-3 per week per household or around £1.50 per person per week, so to have someone come to your door and cart away rubbish and recycling on a regular basis looks a bargain. No wonder it is a mess. We need to pay more.

  7. Robert Reply

    Magpie provides 50% plus for a bit over £1 a week when VAT excluded.

    We spend more time between boxes than emptying as service is so spread out.

    Our focus is on what the waste do for the city. Have one model that can push past current recycling rate (25%) for around 40p per house per week.

    Radical,local,and owned by the users.

    To buy out Veolia … saves money in the long term … finding money is not the problem getting the politicians of Sussex and Brighton and Hove to face up to the problem is.

    They are too busy knocking lumps out of each other to be finding ways of working together to be rid of this expensive and poisonous PFI

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