February 16th, 2018

Institutional failure? Environmental health and monthly bin collections

by Peter Jones


Last week, the Daily Express ran a story warning of the dire consequences of the planned introduction of monthly residual waste collections in Conwy, North Wales. Reducing collection frequencies would lead to a variety of ills such as swarms of rats and flies, unpleasant odours and a surge in fly-tipping, the paper claimed.

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January 6th, 2017

What’s behind the rise in three-weekly rubbish collections?

by Peter Jones


Three-weekly residual waste collections are on the rise, but remain highly controversial. Their introduction has been heralded by stories of over-spilling bins, growing populations of rats, and people buying “top-up” collections from opportunist private bin companies – in fact, all of the same ill-founded fears that were raised about fortnightly collections.

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March 11th, 2016

Rejected out of hand? Media stories on contamination and rats

by Peter Jones


Media coverage of recycling hasn’t got off to a great start in 2016. After a short hiatus following my tussle with Richard Littlejohn last year, my complaints activity has unfortunately had to kick into overdrive. For the time being I’ll focus on four stories with which I’ve been able to make some headway so far this year – three papers’ coverage of recycling contamination, and one daft story about rats.

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August 23rd, 2013

Squeeze me gently

Baa Baa Black sheep pg 8

by Paul Jones


As every child knows, Baa Baa black sheep had three bags full of wool. But if she lived in Monmouthshire and decided she wanted to throw them away, she would now be thwarted under the council’s recently announced plan to allow households only two bags of residual waste per fortnight. I for one am extremely excited about Monmouthshire’s new squeeze policy and think it will have big impact; indeed, it makes me wonder if we might see the sack start to make a comeback.

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August 2nd, 2013

Malta-ed perceptions

Malta bring site_small

by Adrian Gibbs


When visiting an old city with a rich and troubled past it is hard not to get swept up in the grand, complex and often frightening history that has shaped the landscape, culture and administration. Fortunately, most guidebooks include an abridged history to introduce the grand names and great episodes of the past. It is, however, less easy to find a chronicle of a country’s waste management systems. This is perhaps a shame, as the same forces of self-interest, random chance, ‘good ideas at the time’ and inertia can surely be seen at play in the establishment of institutional waste systems as in the formation of cultural, political and architectural norms.

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February 27th, 2013

DCLG’s weak collection fund

Canute rebukes his courtiers

by James Fulford


It’s possible that Eric Pickles expected the Weekly Collection Support Scheme to provide a permanent boost to his popularity. After years in which local government had cut the frequency of rubbish collection, much to the chagrin of the Daily Mail, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government must have imagined that he would be seen to be acting decisively to put things right.

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March 5th, 2012

Pickles’ free lunch

All you can eat

by James Fulford


Eric Pickles’ Weekly Collection Support Scheme reminds me for some reason of an under-stocked all-you-can-eat buffet. Local authorities that commit to collect refuse weekly for the next five years will be invited to fill their boots, whilst those with fortnightly refuse collection wishing to provide a weekly food waste service, will be grudgingly shown to the back of the queue, to pick over the scraps. Show the waiter a special innovation ticket and you may find yourself advanced a few places in the line.

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