Saturday, 7 December 2013

Rubbish Recycling Service

Wandering down Central Road this morning I noticed this gentleman emptying the rubbish bins on the corner of Brinkley Road. I noticed he took both the bag from the recycling bin and the one from the 'normal rubbish' bin and put them both in the same section of his dust cart. So being an inquisitive sort, I asked him if the recyclable rubbish was supposed to be kept separate. he told me no, it all goes in together. I asked if it then gets separated later on. Once again the answer was no, it apparently all goes into landfill without being separated.

Coincidentally, Councillor Jerry Jerome happened to be walking past at the time so I stopped him and asked the gentleman to repeat to him what he has said to me. Again he told us that the recyclables that we have been so carefully dividing into separate bins are all just taken together with the 'normal litter' and not recycled. I think Councillor Jerome was as surprised as I was. He asked who told him to do it this way. The chap replied that this was the instruction from his supervisor. He did also mention that he thought a new system was coming next year which would probably mean the recyclables would actually get recycled.

Has anyone else noticed recyclables just being mixed in with the normal rubbish? It's a bit depressing to think we have been dividing our rubbish up just for it to go straight into landfill anyway.

Update (Wed 8th January)

So it transpires that the London Borough of Sutton has dropped from being one of the best councils for recycling in 2003 to one of the worst in 2013.
So what exactly does the party responsible for this mean then by this statement at the bottom of their recent leaflet?

Also they don't seem to be able to spell 'economy'.

21 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Paul Scully said...

I wish this was something new. This photo showing brown and green wheelie bins being tipped into the same truck was taken back in 2006 in Wallington.

guest ab said...

Poor Street Cleaner, i bet he will be unemployed on Monday !!!!!!

Simon Densley (Conservative & said...

Sacked for doing what his supervisor told him, which I can only assume is council policy? Or for being honest when asked about it by someone? If Sutton Council sack him for this, I for one will campaign for him to keep his job because he has done nothing wrong. It is right that we know what is really going on.

Smokin Joe said...

Absolutely farcical. This should be looked into as a matter of the utmost urgency!!!

Alex said...

So we've got far too many bins in our high street - and in pairs. And now we know half of them are actually completely redundant. What a waste of (our) money.

If anyone needs sacking, it's those in Sutton Council who have knowingly been throwing money on bins we do not need - apparently, at least as far back as 2006, according to the photo below.

Spud said...

I have suspected for a long time that most of the recycling collections are a total sham. There should be an update about this after having consulted the people responsible for ignoring what we are members of the public are asked to do....!!

guest D said...

This is most unlikely as Councils have ever increasing targets for their recycled amounts year on year or face fines from Central Government.

The most likely scenario here and the one Paul Scully pointed out 7 years ago, is that it is not being managed by a politician, so no big bang, but a step wise implementation, i.e. put bins in place, train refuse operatives, implement full process.

A politician, would have, put bins in place, photo opportunity, and a year's worth of chaos.

Dusty Bin said...

Quote "Sutton drops 200 places in councils' recycling league table in last 10 years"...

According to the Sutton Guardian, Sutton Council's rating has crashed from 35th out of 390 Councils in 2003, to 254th out of a rather smaller number of 352 in 2012/13. [See for yourselves on the Sutton Guardian website].

I calculate that that's the equivalent of dropping from the top 9% down to 72nd% in 9 years, or the equivalent to a steady drop of 7%, every year, year on year, over the 9 year period. Clearly Sutton is drastically failing against other Councils - including the neighbouring ones.

Maybe Councillor Jerome can shed some light on this one? Maybe the focus should have been investing in recycling the contents of bins, rather than investing in recyclable waste bins in the high street and then not recycling the contents?

Perhaps the real idea behind the planned incinerator is to destroy the evidence?

Stewart Mackay Conservative WP said...

I would personally like to thank Conservative Councillor Tim Crowley for raising this issue at Full Council.

Paul Scully said...

Actually the targets have moved away from recycling, hence the council's less than interested approach. They do get fined for putting rubbish into landfill and are heavily taxed for doing so as well, therefore they are still interested in avoiding that, hence the incinerator in Beddington.

I was informed at the time that the photo that I put up showing different bins being emptied into the same truck was not due to step wise implementation but because of faulty equipment. Guest D is right that this should not be a short-term political opportunity but we've moved a long way from the pioneering green council that Sutton claimed to have back in the nineties.

guest D said...

We as a household recycle just over 50% by volume, probably around 40% by weight, so slightly better than the Sutton average. But like Sutton in recent years that has slipped because of (in our case) of increased non recyclable packaging, supermarkets being the worst offenders.

How could we as a household recycle more? Well Sutton could give us two 'green' bins as the one we have is always full come collection day or collect every week. Sutton could introduce 'Food Waste' collection, but it would take a huge amount of persuasion to get 'She who must be obeyed' to agree to use that.

As we have two prospective councillors who frequent this blog it would be interesting to hear, if they got elected, how they would deal with the issue.

Nichu said...

My parents live in one of the councils with a 50% rate. They don't have doorstep collection of glass, they have to take that to the bottle bank themselves. There is also no garden waste collection where they live. Perhaps that council is better at recycling what they do collect?
I like the fact that we only have two bins in Sutton, and that most things, in theory, can be recycled.

Ecconomy with the truth said...

Guest D, Perhaps you can expand upon your theory, that supermarkets are responsible for Sutton Council's failure to recycle waste, relative to other Boroughs?

Given that the study measured relative performance of Boroughs, against a standard test: Can you suggest which supermarkets and which packaging are undermining Sutton Council's ability to recycle? [In a way that the higher placed 253 Boroughs are unaffected or are measurably less affected?]

guest D said...

Try reading what I wrote. I didn't say anything about Sutton's recycling as a whole, just the recycling that goes on in my own household. But then clearly you know more about what goes on in my household than I do!

But as an example, you buy an item such as a pair of scissors in a supermarket and it comes packaged these days in an almost indestructable and non recyclable plastic case, that needs a pair of tin snips to open, they used to be supplied in a thin plastic sleeve that you could keep the item in.

Or better still come up with some constructive solutions that Sutton could use.

guest D said...

I decided to look at the raw data, available from

And it is interesting, Sutton is not 254th but 245th over all local authorities, within London it is 11th at 37.4184% recycling, Croydon is in 10th at 38.2559% and Merton is in 12th at 37.3769.

From that I would say that while Sutton has stood still and the other councils have caught up it is at what you would expect for a South London Council.

Bexley is top at 54% and the inner london boroughs at the bottom ranging from Islington and Camden both at 32% to Lewisham at 17%. Interestingly Wandsworth a transition borough is in 28th place at 28%

The moral don't trust statistics in newspapers without checking.

Timmo62 said...

I also looked at the raw data and it is interesting to see how with sets of data you can legitimatley come up with different outcomes.
Nonetheless the plain fact is that Sutton has slipped back over the last few years with its recycling plan but has been very keen to keep this quiet.
I am not sure whether this has been down to benign neglect or willful policy but it has occurred.
The argument that the authority has slashed spending in its waste management by £3.4 million doesnt add up either as most of that saving was through a renegotiated waste management contract with the other 3 local boroughs of Kingston(top of the london recycling league),Croydon and Merton.All of those boroughs have had to make the same if not larger savings and they have all without exception performed better at recycling than Sutton over the last 4 years.
That is why i am saying that there is a difference between public perception and reality with this council.
You only have to either go down or look at the plans for Beddington Lane to see that parts of Sutton are turning into Londons litter bin.

guest D said...

I agree that they have very much sat back and done nothing and Cllr Jerome was right to highlight the issue,

It was also interesting to see that nationally the star performers are those that a have fairly small waste collections and use Incineration with enegy recovery and still they would be towards the bottom of the league tables in Germany.

Janette Crisp said...

Guest D, you can have as many green bins as you like. Just ring the council and they will deliver them to your house.

Dusty Bin said...

I tried looking at the raw data and found that Sutton Council is indisputably 254th. Look at table 3 and sort on column G, "Percentage of household waste sent for reuse, recycling or composting", (which is, pretty clearly the statistic we are discussing):
254th: Sutton!
- Yes, it's really that as easy and clear! Almost as obvious as a redundant green recycling bin, being blown around Central Road!

It's interesting that faced with statistics from an official and impartial source, that show Sutton Council's performance to be dismal, Guest D's response is to invent alternative measures. Whilst we reflect on what Guest D's agenda might be, the moral is trust the official statistics and don't trust Guest D's.

By the way, strangely Guest D failed to mention it, but neighbouring Kingston Council (which is probably the best comparison, since contains part of Worcester Park), manages to recycle 46% of its waste, as opposed to Sutton's 37%. Maybe Kingston actually recycles the contents of recycle bins, as opposed to sending it to landfill?

Dusty Bin said...

And by the way, in neighbouring Epsom and Ewell, exactly like Kingston, you also manage to recycle 46%, as does Richmond. Croydon recycles 44% - almost 100 places higher than Sutton.

Dennis Salva said...

This is really very sad to hear this but really you have highlighted very important issue that high authority should have an idea about it and have proper control and supervision on the working of the workers. Waste is very dangerous if we through it in open area so recycling is the best way of making waste product reusable. Thanks for sharing this post.

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