What A Load Of Rubbish

10 Dec
Trash bins in Regensburg

Image via Wikipedia

I’m as big a fan of recycling as the next man; bigger, if anything: I’ve been doing it since before it was either fashionable or compulsory; but I’m ready to give it all up and dump the contents of my three un-emptied wheelie bins on Stockport town hall’s doorstep.  I’m sure it would be four un-emptied wheelie bins if I had put the last one out with the others.

I have a green bin for garden and food waste; a blue bin for paper; a brown bin for glass, tins, certain plastics; and a smaller black bin for non-recyclables – the black bin is woefully inadequate for anyone’s needs and likely to stay that way until manufacturers are pressured into reducing packaging but that doesn’t excuse the town hall for getting it so badly wrong: they should either have given us all larger black bins, or emptied them weekly instead of whenever the mood take them.

I don’t often get enraged – war?  Seen it all before.  Starving children?  Pass me my gourmet meal and tell them to eat their sticks and stop whining.  But dare to ignore my bins on collection day and I swell to three times my not inconsiderable size and blister the skin of any local government official within a twenty-mile radius.

Here’s what happened:

Tuesday 30/11/10 – Midnight*

* You have to do it the night before because you can bet if it’s a minute past seven in the morning of collection day their little radar detects it and uses it as an excuse to ignore you for a month; but you can’t do it early evening because they’ll fine you for cluttering the pavement    

  • Put out full green, brown, blue bins – ensuring they are placed at the edge of the property, lids fully closed, not blocking public access but visible to blind refuse truck driver, before seven a.m.
  • Snow

Wednesday 01/12/10

  • Binmen ignore blue and brown bins on 300 Stockport streets because of ‘bad weather’ yet, somehow, the green bin truck gets through

Thursday  02/12/10 – Lunchtime

  • Bring in empty green bin, full blue, brown bins
  • Stamp feet in frustration
  • Chat to neighbour, discover neighbour’s daughter-in-law’s contact at town hall has told daughter-in-law who told neighbour who tells you that blue bin will only be emptied on 29 DECEMBER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Once breath returns to body, get on phone to council
  • Told by very nice Ros who lets you shout at her until you calm down that you will be collected next Wednesday.  Even though it’s a full week late, accept it as a gift because you won’t have to face a Christmas garden piled high to the top of your six foot fence with detritus

Tuesday 07/12/10 – Midnight

  • Put out full black, brown, blue bins – ensuring they are placed at the edge of the property, lids fully closed, not blocking public access but visible to blind refuse truck driver, before seven a.m.

Wednesday 08/12/10

  • Watch truck sail past with the contents of every black bin on your street – except, of course, yours
  • Yodel on phone to very nice Bev until reassurances are given that full black bin will definitely be collected next Wednesday and blue and brown bins should still be collected that day because you are on the roster and they work until seven at night
  • Bring in full black bin

Thursday  09/12/10 – Lunchtime

  • Bring in full brown, blue bins
  • Get on phone to make an official complaint – politely; you’re too exhausted by the whole process to care any more.  You’d top yourself but as the same people who run the refuse collection, run the cemeteries, you’re not sure how long your smelly body would be standing there bothering your poor grieving family.  Although, as you are the only person who can be bothered to put out the rubbish and even when you do it ends up piled six feet deep in your garden due to non-collection, they might not find you until you begin to stink like your own cooking anyway.
  • Get caught short
  • Hear answer phone message as you are on the loo, telling you brightly that your blue bin will be collected on Saturday (as announced in this week’s Stockport Express – remember those 300 streets?); your brown bin will be collected on next brown bin collection date; and what’s a black bin?
  • Give up

The only good thing to come out of this sorry mess – although ‘good’ is a relative term – is that I got a short poem out of it.  The Poetic Asides prompt was to write about a group of anything:


A Garbage Of Refuse* Collectors

The binmen of Stockport?
They’re rubbish.


*Feel free to pronounce ‘ref-use’ as ‘re-fuse’; I won’t be offended.


There is a poem about rubbish people of a different kind on my sapoem blog.


I saw this on ribshackred‘s blog and I thought you might like it:

8 Responses to “What A Load Of Rubbish”

  1. vivinfrance December 10, 2010 at 10:43 #

    What a wonderful post: you’re playing musical bins.

    There’s only one answer to all that: move to France. We have a similar bin system, but the only one that’s collected is the equivalent of your black bin. As I recycle almost everything, I only need to put it out every two weeks, with our minuscule see-through bag of non-recyclables. They do come every week though.

    I save old thin plastic bags and take to the supermarket to use for loose fruit and veg, carefully peeling off the old price tag before weighing. Plastic shopping bags are no longer given out in supermarkets, so my shopping bags are elegant patchwork ones or a rucksack if I’m on foot.

    My other three bins we take up to the village in the car when full, and put the stuff into the approprate containers which are sunk into the ground beside the car park. Seriously non-recyclables such as old mattresses (though we do sleep on ours) we take to the tip once in a blue moon. All garden rubbish is composted and benefits our runner beans.


    • Tilly Bud December 13, 2010 at 11:42 #

      I liked the idea of moving to France right up to the moment you said they don’t collect most of the recycling bins. Most people are lazy; some unwilling or unable to recycle. The only real option is to make it doorstep collections.


      • vivinfrance December 13, 2010 at 12:20 #

        They do collect in towns: but in this sparsely popuated area it would be uneconomic. And the rubbish they do collect must be in the (free) transparent bags so the dustman can see that you’re not putting in any recyclables!


        • Tilly Bud December 13, 2010 at 12:22 #

          We have those bags too but nobody seems to get in trouble and I have seen recyclable junk in them. Wish I was a busybody so I could stop it!


  2. slpmartin December 10, 2010 at 17:34 #

    We currently only have two bins…the recycling bin is picked up every two weeks…since I system is ran by corporation…it is usually picked up..but if not…a simple phone call brings them out.


    • Tilly Bud December 13, 2010 at 11:43 #

      Ah, a city hall that works…we had one of those in South Africa. Sadly, it’s not quite like that here.


  3. Musings December 11, 2010 at 09:03 #

    We have three large bins that take up a lot of room. We want to recycle everything, but Hawaii is still not up to snuff yet. They only collect some kinds of plastic and glass, cardboard and newspaper. We need to do better! I wish your system was working better. At least our guys pick up when they’re supposed to.


    • Tilly Bud December 13, 2010 at 11:43 #

      That’s something.

      You’d think an island would see the value of recycling over importing stuff, wouldn’t you? I was really surprised by that.


I welcome your comments but be warned: I'm menopausal and as likely to snarl as smile. Wine or Maltesers are an acceptable bribe; or a compliment about my youthful looks and cheery disposition will do in a pinch.

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