Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Fortnightly Refuse Collections to Begin in Haringey

Beginning in March this year (although this may be delayed until the summer), fortnightly refuse collections are to be introduced in Haringey. In the first wave of this initiative, the wards of Muswell Hill, Highgate, Fortis Green, and parts of Bounds Green, Crouch End and Stroud Green, will move to the new arrangements. In June, the arrangement will be extended to Wood Green, West Green, Bruce Grove, Haringay and St Ann’s wards. In October, the rest of the borough will be brought in line with the new regime.

We were informed of this change in ‘Haringey People’, the council’s glossy, paid for by residents, Labour party propaganda magazine, in December.

Items that are currently recycled will continue to be collected once a week, but ‘residual waste’ (what we put in black bin bags) will only be collected on a fortnightly basis. Existing bins will be used in the first instance, but the ‘green box’ recycling bins will be replaced later, with small green wheelie bins, for glass, paper, tins and plastic waste. Existing garden waste bags and food waste containers will continue to be used for these types of refuse. The scheme will only apply to households who have front gardens or yards large enough to store the extra bins. To encourage food recycling, compostable bags for food waste will be provided free for six months only, and bones can now be put in food waste.

Of course, we in the Green party welcome a move to more recycling, although the current ‘co-mingled’ form of recycling practiced in Haringey (and set to continue) is far from ideal. By mixing different waste, some of it becomes degraded, paper for example, and becomes unsuitable for pulping, and so unrecyclable. Also, glass bottles are not reused or even made into new ones, but used to build roads in places like Malaysia, hardly a very ‘green’ way of dealing waste. All the same, even this limited type of recycling is preferable to landfill, and the new refuse collections are likely to see more waste recycled than at present.

Our old friends the Lib Dems are up to their old tricks again, calling for consultation with residents before the scheme begins, and of course consultation is important, as well as the education of residents, to ensure that implementation and continued usage is successful. But we all know by now what the Lib Dems modus operandi is, sit on the fence, and see which way the wind blows in public opinion, then claim they are speaking for the ‘people’. Shameless opportunism is the Lib Dems stock in trade.

I do though foresee possible problems with moving to a fortnightly collection system. Will residents cooperate in the way necessary to make it work properly? Or will people just dump rubbish in the street and other public areas, or over stuff their ‘grey’ bins so the lid won’t close? We already have a big problem with vermin in Haringey (and much of London) and this policy could well make matters worse. The food recycling bags should be provided free for as long the scheme runs, as I’ve had problems in the past with food waste not being collected because it was in the wrong bag, and they left the lid of the bin open, but no explanation as why it was not collected.

Residents should also be encouraged to reuse items where possible and to compost some waste, but all of this would lead to less refuse, and so less money for private contractor Veolia who will run the new scheme. And there we have the real reason that we are to move to fortnightly waste collection, it’s all about money. Money for Veolia and saving money for the council, in these cash strapped municipal days, not any great concern for the environment, local or further afield.

Veolia can be contacted about the new arrangements on 020 8885 7700 or at


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Zaf said...

Absolutely ridiculous idea to collect bins fortnightly. A lot of properties in Haringey are rented, so there are more people per house than expected. More people therefore more waste. What if someone in the house refuses to recycle? How does Haringey propose to combat that problem?

Mike Shaughnessy said...

I believe that 'green bags' will be provided where there is no room for wheelie bins, but you can check with Veolia, contact deatils on the blog.