Refuse collectors tackle huge amounts

Refuse collectors David Ransome, Ernie Ward and Mark Featherstone with just a handful of the bags on a busy post-festive round.
Refuse collectors David Ransome, Ernie Ward and Mark Featherstone with just a handful of the bags on a busy post-festive round.
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EMPTY rubbish bags may be piling up in the streets in some areas of the country but the outlook is much rosier in South Holland.

South Holland District Council’s waste collection teams have battled against the elements to keep on top of what is traditionally a busy time.

“Before Christmas when the weather was bad we placed the onus on the driver to take responsibility,” said Glen Chapman, neighbourhood services manager.

“If he believes it is not safe for collections in certain areas that is the decision we stick with.

“What it means is some areas will not get collected when we go out and we ask people to hang on to it until the next week.”

Mr Chapman says there are a number of things the council can do to allieviate the problem.

This includes sending a smaller vehicle to difficult streets, which can ferry bags out to a collection lorry parked nearby.

Some households and businesses across the country faced about a month’s worth of bags piled up in the street when weather conditions meant collections had to be cancelled.

According to national press reports, some councils were asking residents to take their own rubbish to the tip to help clear the problem.

“We got everything back in-line in South Holland before Christmas,” said Mr Chapman. “Whatever the year, we always need to come up with an alternative collection regime for Christmas and New Year.

“This year we did not collect on December 27 and 28, and we worked January 3.”

Last week, Mr Chapman says there was double the volume of bags picked up in post-Christmas collections.

“On Monday and Tuesday there was a considerable amount of recycling and we did struggle to collect it all in one day so we had to spill over into the next,” he said.

“Refuse was collected as planned over the two days.”

It is estimated crews across the district picked up about 150 tonnes more refuse on top of a usual weekly average of about 350 tonnes.

There was about 135 tonnes more recycling waste than the usual 180 tonnes.

But despite the challenging weather conditions in the run-up to the festive season and the extra rubbish to collect afterwards, Mr Chapman is satisfied with the council’s performance.

He said: “We are quite pleased. We have had a few grumbles but in comparison to the number of collections it was only a small amount.”

One letter from Gedney, he said, even asked for thanks and appreciation to be passed on to crews.