Waltham waste overhaul leaves bins overflowing

Residents report bins left uncollected for weeks as Waltham Forest Council struggles with “teething problems” after a huge overhaul and the coronavirus.

More than three quarters of households in the borough saw their bin collection day change on March 2.

All bins are now collected on the same day, in order to create more fuel efficient routes for waste and recycling contractor Urbaser.

However, a large number of residents, particularly those in blocks with communal bins, are reporting their rubbish has gone uncollected for weeks.

Pamela Taylor said: “I live on an estate comprising of 29 maisonettes. Our communal bins have not been emptied for three weeks yet a neighbouring estate have their bins emptied on a regular weekly basis.

“Our bins are overflowing and rubbish now has to be left on the floor of the bin shed. Even without the current pandemic, this is a serious health and safety issue.

“I have been in touch with the council and local councillor but am not having a lot of luck. The council say they will get back to me within two working days. This obviously is not good enough.”

On Monday March 16, one Forest Road resident said: “My refuse still hasn’t been collected.

“Three weeks now and very limited correspondence from Waltham Forest Council, said they’d look into it and I’ve heard nothing back.”

Residents in Walthamstow and Leyton have posted pictures of overflowing communal bins, describing the missed collections as “disgraceful”.

Another resident posted a note they had left for bin men on Twitter, adding: “I have resorted to this because Waltham Forest Council are ignoring me.”

The note reads: “Please could you come in and collect our bins? We can’t leave them on the pavement as there isn’t enough room.

“We have been forgotten for two weeks and we are getting a bit euhh.”

The council collects more than 222,000 every week and claims to miss fewer than 0.1 per cent of collections.

Cllr Clyde Loakes, Waltham Forest Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “Last month we implemented significant service changes for the first time in over ten years, affecting more than 75 per cent of households in the borough.

“We have been working around the clock with our contractor Urbaser to review and address any issues as and when they arose.

“Many London boroughs and councils across the UK have already dramatically reduced their bin collection services in the light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We are working incredibly hard in Waltham Forest to try and maintain our existing service levels and collect waste and recycling every week on schedule.

“As regular crew members become unable to come to work and gaps are filled with agency staff, we lose important knowledge and understanding of our local rounds.

“To that end we are constantly looking at how we can rebalance rounds, put in additional capacity, and ensure agency replacements have all the information they need to complete rounds.

“The vast majority of bins in the borough are still being emptied on the correct day. Where this isn’t happening, I sincerely apologise and urge residents to be patient with the crews as they are doing their best in very difficult and challenging circumstances.”

Residents who collections have been missed, are encouraged to report it online at https://walthamforest.gov.uk/content/report-missed-bin-collection

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter