Ealing Council
United Kingdom

Paper Petition
A paper petition is being run in parallel to this online version. As at Friday 24 July 2015, there are an additional 117 signatures on the paper petition to add to the online total.

The Council's Proposal
On Tuesday 16 June Ealing Council’s Cabinet took the decision to vary the contract with their waste and recycling management contractors Amey (Amey acquired the original contractors Enterprise in April 2013). The Council has agreed to two wheelie bins per household, one for commingled recyclables (ie plastics, paper, card, metal, and glass), and the other for ‘residual waste’, and a fortnightly collection. The commingled recyclables would be taken to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) where people would sort them. Food waste would still be collected weekly. A third wheelie bin would be provided to those households that make an additional payment for garden waste disposal.

It is suspected that much of the drive for change comes from the contractors whose financial interests are best served by securing a variation in their contract through the changes proposed, rather than being forced to take part in a fully competitive procurement process.

Expert guidance suggests that a commingled fortnightly wheelie bin collection rather than the kerb-side sort which we have now would neither increase recycling nor be more cost efficient than the current system, if it were run properly.

Enterprise/Amey failed to buy the right fleet at the start of their contract.
A recent report by 4R Environmental Ltd reviewed Local Government procurement contracts for waste collection systems across the UK (April 2008-February 2012). This research found that of the 65 procurement contracts determined during the period, 29 allowed competition between the systems to compare which was most cost efficient and likely to improve recycling; 20 contracts excluded Kerb Sort as an option; and 13 contracts excluded Single Stream commingling of mixed recyclables as an option. In five contracts it was unclear what was allowed and what was not so these were left out of the conclusions.

In the 29 procurements where competition was allowed, Kerbside Sorting was chosen in 62% of cases, Dual Stream separation of paper/cardboard, or alternatively separation of glass, from other recyclables in 31% of cases; and Single Stream commingling in only 10% of cases. In the 20 contracts where Kerbside Sorting was excluded, Single Stream wheelie bin commingling won in 80% of contracts over Dual Stream management. In the 13 cases where one wheelie bin commingling of recyclables was excluded, kerbside sorting won in 85% of cases over two stream separation of paper/cardboard from other recyclables.

In conclusion, Kerbside Sorting (which we have now) easily comes out best in terms of improving recycling with the most cost efficiency. Which is better for both the tax payer and for the environment.

This evidence does not support the claims of the most ardent Single Stream Commingled advocates about its unrivalled competitiveness. Nor does previous research by WRAP or research commissioned on behalf of the Welsh Government.

It is proposed that a Borough-wide survey would be conducted to ascertain the suitability of all properties for wheelie bins and for those properties that are deemed unsuitable, a black bag and green box service would still be allowed – however, the collection would still be fortnightly resulting in concerns about where to store two weeks’ worth of recyclables in green boxes/white sacks and residual waste in black bags.

Special provisions would be made for those people who are unable to move the full wheelie bins.

The aims
The aim of the plan should be to increase the percentage of recycling, and to maximise the quality of the resultant recoverable materials for the benefit of the environment, and to do this cost efficiently for the benefit of the tax payer.
Kerb-side sorting is recognised to improve the quality of the sort and hence to reduce contamination of the recovered material for sale at the end of the recycling process.

Dual stream recycling (collecting fibres ie paper and cardboards) separately from glass, metal and plastic, or alternative separating glass from other recyclables, has also been proved to result in better quality recovered material, but this is not offered with the revised contract.

Comments on the potential impact of these proposals
For families and multi-person households who currently recycle it is likely that the commingled (mixed recycling) wheelie bin would not be big enough to accommodate two weeks’ worth of plastics, let alone all the card, paper, bottles and metals, resulting in additional bags of plastic recycling being left by the wheelie bin. We have been told that extra bags next to wheelie bins will not be collected.

Wheelie bins for residual waste would accommodate five black bags – possibly inadequate capacity for two weeks’ waste for families. For those families that do not recycle (and cannot be persuaded to do so), additional bags left next to the wheelie bins would not be collected and would also attract vermin. This would also be likely to encourage families to put extra residual waste into recycling wheelie bins and hence cause contamination and consequent implications for reduced commodity prices due to contamination of paper or plastic.

These issues lead to more waste on our streets, to flytipping and consequently, to additional costs. Little thought appears to have been put into how the wheelie bins would be conveyed to the waste trucks. Many roads in the Borough are narrow (for example in Olde Hanwell), and have nose-to-tail parking. Damage to private vehicles may increase as operators use narrow gaps to access the trucks with the wheelie bins.

The time involved in the recycling trucks blocking some residential roads that have a considerable amount of through traffic (eg Deans Road, and Montague Road in mid Hanwell) whilst the wheelie bins are dealt with might also cause issues with traffic build up and associated road rage.

And this is all before we consider the visual aesthetics of two/three wheelie bins per household in those properties that have small front gardens and no side access to hide the wheelie bins out of sight. For example in the Framfield Road area of Hanwell, and in Olde Hanwell.

Wheelie bins would be unsightly in our Conservation Areas and consideration should certainly be given to this. But, then why should those of us not lucky enough to live in Conservation Areas be forced to have the visual amenity of our neighbourhoods diminished by a plethora of dirty wheelie bins?

Lack of Public Consultation
There has been no public consultation on this issue and many people believe that such major decisions affecting every household in the Borough should not be taken without the prior opportunity for public debate.

We, the undersigned, call upon Ealing Council to reverse the Cabinet decision (taken on 16 June 2015) to change over to a wheelie bin, commingled recycling and waste management service across the Borough, and to maintain the current kerbside sorting system.

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The Ealing Says 'No' to Wheelie Bins petition to Ealing Council was written by Hanwell Library Users' Group and is in the category Environment at GoPetition.