This afternoon the wheelie bins arrived in my road, and of all the houses in the road they could have picked, the men delivering them picked my house to line them all up across the drive while they put the wheels on them all, inserted the pods etc. At least it gave me a good view of the proceedings. I now know how you put the wheels on a wheelie bin!
The bins were then wheeled off down the road, and it wasn’t long before the first complaint came in – shock at the size of the tiny paper pod in the small recycling bin. (It’s bad enough in the normal size bin, but believe me in the small bin, it is a complete joke!)
I understand some people in Brandwood tried reversing their recycling so that the paper went in the larger bottom bit of the container, and the plastics and cans in the smaller pod. That arrangement would certainly suit our household better because the bottles section in the recycling wheelie bin is so large, and the paper section so small – which is the opposite of what we want. However it is absolutely not allowed and since the accompanying leaflet threatens legal action if residents repeatedly get things wrong, I certainly shan’t be doing it.
Meanwhile I see a Birmingham Labour blogger is moaning because I complained about the amount of money the Labour Council has spent advertising something which is going to happen anyway.
Of course there need to be leaflets giving information about the change – though these have not been as clear as they should be. This was obvious when this week in Harborne, we had the special triple collection, (which is what you get if your recycling weeks are swopping over when you change to wheelie bins). This week it should have been green waste in my area, but we had a note about a special triple collection – where we could put out green, paper and multi. It was interesting driving home last night to see how many people hadn’t picked up on this and had just stuck with putting out only their green waste.
However my real complaint is the fact the Council is not just giving people instructions about the changes, but has also hired a PR company which specialises in “crisis media advice”. I have asked specifically what this company is being paid to do – and I have been told that they are taking “before” and “after” pictures in Brandwood and Harborne, and finding people in those wards to interview, all of which will then be published (I believe in The Forward) no doubt to try and prove what a wonderful success the wheelie bins have been.
That is not giving information to people about how the new system works. In my opinion that is an attempt to try and get the Labour Council some good publicity. If a Labour Councillor thinks that is a good use of tax payers money, then so be it – but at a time when the Council has axed black bags, green bags and is threatening to mothball or close some leisure centres, I do not agree with him. And I suspect many members of the public will not agree with him either.