Over on Twitter @JohnPrescott and others are doing a very good job gathering examples on the #wereallbinthistogether hashtage of what the £250m just announced by Eric Pickles to facilitate a return to weekly bin collections* could otherwise have been spent on. Going a long way towards reinstating EMA (cost £380m) for example.

*That’s rubbish-to-landfill bin collections by the way, not recycling.

Pickles justifies this by saying ‘no-one should have to wait two weeks for the remains of their chicken tikka massala to be taken away’. Leaving aside the fact that curry actually tastes even better the day after (tarka dall on toast anyone?), many councils are introducing separate weekly food waste collections. South Oxfordshire district council, for example, came top in an annual poll of councils on letsrecycle.com, with a recycling and composting rate of almost 71%. It has alternate-week collection of rubbish and recycling and a weekly food waste pick-up.

I’d be interested to hear what local people thing about this. We all remember the front page of the Bristol Evening Post a few years with Lib Dem Councillor Gary Hopkins as ‘King Rat’ after stories about rats and maggots running amok in people’s brown food waste bins. There is an issue in parts of inner-city Bristol where there are large families and lots of HMOs who produce more landfill rubbish than an average household (and, it is accepted, tend to recycle less). I frequently get complaints about over-flowing bins, extra bags splitting or being torn apart by rats, cats, foxes and other creatures strewing rubbish all over the pavement, and the fly-tipping of household waste. There’s also a problem in some streets where people don’t want lots of bins cluttering their front gardens/ pavements. And isn’t it time the main recycling centre at St Philips got a makeover? It’s always crowded, and difficult to find where to put things. I thought there’d be a separate area for WEEE, but was just told to put my old vacuum cleaner in an unmarked skip.

The announcement by Pickles also sits somewhat uncomfortably with his professed zeal for localism. “We’re offering councils a deal.  [Pickles writes, on Conservative Home]. If they commit to providing weekly waste collection for the next five years, they can take their share of this new quarter of a billion pound fund.” Caroline Flint has since pointed out that Pickles is only funding councils for two-and-a-half years but they have to commit to five years…

Mainly though, this is just an excuse to re-run the Pickles in a Bin picture.

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  • Tom Youngman (@tmyoungman)  On September 30, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    I understand fortnightly collection it can be an issue, especially in the summer, but this shows completely twisted ambitions from Pickles. If it really is so important to him, then he should have at least partnered it with matched funding for recycling or post-collection sorting and higher targets for councils on recycling rates.

  • Quietzaple  On October 1, 2011 at 1:06 am

    Pickles sounded pickled first thing on Breakfast yesterday morning, then half an hour later normal by his standards. Was he sloshes or does he need a drug to wake up?

    I know he has a flat at Brentford despite living at Brentwood for early starts.

    Ludicrous waste of public money towards weekly collections. Some Tory councils wil be miffed but not want to say just before their conference.

    Prib partly why announced today together with mad 80mph limit: sane Tories daren’t object, headbangers and knee jerkers will be pleased.

    Evil PR savvy bastards!

  • Tony Dyer  On October 1, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    The Local Government Association have issue a response here; http://tinyurl.com/6k8nqyj

    The accompanying briefing points out that:

    “84% of householders are ‘satisfied’ with their bin collection service

    In the last decade, household recycling has more than doubled to 40 per cent –
    saving council taxpayers millions of pounds in landfill taxes.

    It costs councils £56 per tonne in landfill tax to dump waste. That will rise by £8 per year to £80 per tonne in 2014/15

    “It currently costs councils in England more than £500m each year in landfill tax to send waste to the dump”

    9 of the top 10 recycling councils in the country currently provide fortnightly collection. The 10th offers fortnightly residual waste collection with a weekly food collection.

    There is no one-size-fits-all solution to collecting waste. What works in an inner city suburb will not necessarily work in the countryside. Councils work with residents to find the best solution for them and their local area, meeting personal and community needs and ambitions.”

    Or to put it another way

    “By getting out of the way and letting councils and communities run their own affairs we can restore civic pride, democratic accountability and economic growth – and build a stronger, fairer Britain. It’s the end of the era of big government: laying the foundations for the Big Society.” Eric Pickles

  • Tony Dyer  On October 1, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Last para quoting Pickles added by me, not the LGA

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