Uncollected food waste causes stink

The small brown bins for food waste were delivered to households in November 2019

Report by James Cracknell

Hundreds of people have been affected by missed brown bin collections since Enfield Council’s new food waste service began in November.

The small containers were delivered to households last autumn for the purpose of recycling out-dated food and leftovers, but some residents say their bins have not been collected even once, while others say collections are frequently missed.

The Dispatch understands that several hundred missed collection reports have been filed with the council since the new service was introduced. Streets known to have suffered from frequent missed collections include Clarence Road in Ponders End, Harman Road in Bush Hill Park, Hillside Grove in Southgate and Oxford Close in Edmonton. It is understood that problems with the online complaints system for missed waste collections have led to further issues, with some residents unable to inform the council of when their collection was missed.

Cigdem Hasan, from Oxford Close, told the Dispatch: “I complained to the council and after two weeks they came, but it has happened again and it’s now been three weeks since it was collected. I have emailed the complaints team who said they will investigate but nothing appears to be happening.

“Nobody is coming on the designated day at all to my road to collect the brown food bins.”

The teething problems with the new food waste service come as the council prepares to make another major change to bin collections on Monday 2nd March, when both black and blue bins move to a fortnightly service.

All the changes being brought in are designed to help save £2million in taxpayers’ money and increase recycling rates to 50%. The scale of the challenge was recently laid bare, however, when new figures showed that Enfield’s domestic recycling rate had declined by 2.5% in 2018/19, down to 33.4%. It was the fourth-biggest drop in recycling in London.

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A council spokesperson said: “We are on-track to deliver the second phase of the new service this spring comprising of alternate weekly collections of household rubbish and recycling collections. The changes were necessary because central government cut a £2.5m grant we had for weekly bin collections.

“Every week Enfield Council collects bins and recycling from over 87,000 properties. While we will endeavour to collect every bin, there can be reasons for a missed collection, for example obstructions caused by parked cars, access issues, or bins not being presented correctly. Since the new service started on 4th November, 0.32% of bins were not collected as scheduled.

“Across London recycling rates have plateaued and local authorities are having to make radical changes to help people change their behaviour.”

Caroline Russell, a Green Party member of the London Assembly, slammed “stagnating” local authority recycling rates across the capital. She said: “Public feeling and concern about waste has never been higher, so it’s a shame this just doesn’t seem to be a priority for the mayor of London. Recycling saves money and helps cut carbon emissions, so it’s worrying to see how far we’re behind the national rates.”

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