Rage at plans to change glass col­lec­tion

Stirling Observer - - FRONT PAGE - Kaiya Mar­jorib­anks

Livid lo­cals are mak­ing their feel­ings crys­tal clear af­ter Stir­ling Coun­cil’s glass waste col­lec­tion sys­tem was sud­denly changed from two to four weeks.

The pub­lic con­tacted the Ob­server and took to so­cial me­dia to make their feel­ings known as the coun­cil an­nounced it would no longer empty the blue boxes fort­nightly.

Over­flow­ing boxes and the abil­ity of peo­ple to carry full con­tain­ers to col­lec­tion points were among the is­sues raised.

One of the main bug­bears of those com­plain­ing, how­ever, was the coun­cil’s claim the change had been made be­cause of “cus­tomer feed­back”.

The row was fur­ther ig­nited as it was re­vealed the coun­cil had won a COSLA na­tional award for the way it had im­ple­mented changes to its waste col­lec­tion sys­tem over

the last year - spark­ing a raft of com­ments from in­cred­u­lous house­hold­ers.

Of­fi­cials had briefly men­tioned the po­ten­tial to al­ter the glass col­lec­tion timetable at the coun­cil’s en­vi­ron­ment and hous­ing com­mit­tee on Septem­ber 14, say­ing up­take in some ar­eas had been “very poor” and they may want to pro­vide a “less fre­quent ser­vice” in some cases in fu­ture.

How­ever, there had been no warn­ing that a blan­ket change was about to be made.

The first many knew about the change was a post on the coun­cil’s web­site this week which said: “Fol­low­ing cus­tomer feed­back, the glass col­lec­tion will move from fort­nightly to ev­ery four weeks, pro­vid­ing a sim­pler pre­sen­ta­tion model for res­i­dents.”

Tory group en­vi­ron­ment spokesper­son Coun­cil­lor Ross Oxburgh said: “This is not ac­cept­able. We have had as­sur­ances from the con­vener at the last en­vi­ron­ment com­mit­tee that elected mem­bers from all par­ties would dis­cuss the ser­vice and any changes needed.

“We only found out about this change when con­stituents started con­tact­ing us.

“Putting in piece­meal changes with­out mean­ing­ful prior dis­cus­sion is not the way to do this. That must be ac­knowl­edged and our call for a full re­view heeded by the ad­min­is­tra­tion or that re­cent award made to the ser­vice will be un­der­mined.”

Fel­low Tory and com­mit­tee mem­ber Coun­cil­lor Martin Earl added: “There have been a num­ber of changes sug­gested that could im­prove the ser­vice but I don’t ex­pect them to just be put in place with­out seek­ing wide­spread views from peo­ple across the coun­cil area and other sug­ges­tions be­ing con­sid­ered.

“This is why we have kept de­mand­ing a full re­view in­volv­ing the pub­lic, com­mu­nity coun­cils and all coun­cil­lors to dis­cuss sen­si­ble changes and con­sult widely be­fore do­ing any­thing. This change should be re­versed and only con­sid­ered as part of that full re­view.”

How­ever, the coun­cil’s en­vi­ron­ment and hous­ing con­vener, SNP coun­cil­lor Jim Thom­son, sug­gested the change would make the sys­tem more ef­fi­cient and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly and help ad­dress complaints that the streets were clut­tered by bins and boxes.

He said: “Cus­tomer feed­back was gained from com­pli­ments, en­quiries and the complaints sys­tem, as well as com­mu­nity coun­cil meet­ings.

“It has been iden­ti­fied that the glass col­lec­tion has an over­all, low par­tic­i­pa­tion level. On the two weekly col­lec­tion, our staff were find­ing that of­ten only around 20 per cent of res­i­dents were pre­sent­ing their glass for col­lec­tion.

“De­spite both cus­tomers and col­lec­tion crews re­port­ing that at times only a hand­ful of boxes were pre­sented for up­lift in streets, the ve­hi­cles still had to drive the col­lec­tion beats.

“The move to a four­week sys­tem will en­sure our col­lec­tion ve­hi­cles are fully op­ti­mised, re­duce CO2 emis­sions and present the most ef­fi­cient, sus­tain­able col­lec­tion sys­tem pos­si­ble for cus­tomers.

“Feed­back also in­cluded res­i­dents com­ment­ing there are too many con­tain­ers pre­sented at any one time.

“The ben­e­fit of mov­ing to this new sys­tem for glass col­lec­tion means there will be a sim­pli­fied pre­sen­ta­tion model for res­i­dents. This will con­sist of the pre­sen­ta­tion of two con­tain­ers on col­lec­tion day, rather than the cur­rent sched­ule of pre­sent­ing up to three con­tain­ers, de­pend­ing on the col­lec­tion calendar.

“We con­tinue to re­view our col­lec­tion sys­tem and al­ways wel­come feed­back from our com­mu­ni­ties.”

Anger Bot­tled up rage over waste col­lec­tion change erupts

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