Discussion Forum
Refuse/recycle collections

From Howard T
Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Is anyone experiencing difficulties in getting their recyclables collected? Calderdale (or Sita) have failed to collect recyclables on the two scheduled dates, we complained to Calderdale, they promised to come back and collect and failed to do this - twice.

From Elaine P

We haven't yet had any recycling collected by SITA - we haven't even had the boxes & bags delivered which we're supposed to put everything in. I've phoned Calderdale 5 times over the last 2 weeks to complain and have been told it's been logged as a miscollection which gives SITA 48 hours to come out and pick it up. Still nothing. Twice I've been promised that a supervisor/manager will call me back but I'm still waiting. They're supposed to be sending me a complaint form.

From Tim N

Well three weeks now; no general rubbish collection, no recycling collection. The street is starting to fill with an assortment of bin bags, white plastic bags, food containers and old kerbside boxes (we've still no got a green sita box) - are we heading for a summer of discontent?

From Howard T
Tuesday, 5 May 2009

We've a similar story. Except at least we've been supplied with the boxes etc (although the food bags seep -so they haven't properly invented those yet). But we've had no collections of rubbish or recyclables. Calls made to Calderdale, they say they'll come and collect -but don't.

I finally got a response when I spoke to someone in environmental health (or some such department) and enquired 'whether it was acceptable for a premises to leave waste food outside for 2-3 weeks.' Emphatically no I was told.

They also conceded that if this was left outside a take-away premises, their guys with their clipboards would close them down.

So I said that I need to make a complaint against Jonathan Lord, (a good man no doubt, but a name from the management of all this at Calderdale, nothing personal) on the grounds that acceptable environmental standards/public health standards are not being maintained.

I also stated that unless the rubbish/recyclables was collected with 48hrs, I would be throwing it through the doorway of the town hall and bring a press photographer with me.

We got our rubbish/recyclables collected very soon after. But (unknown to me at the time), they walked past all the other rubbish left out by my neighbours... left that where it was.

I don't agree with making the type of threats I had to make to get the Council to get its subcontractors to do their job. It should not be necessary, or the way to go about it. My wife had some nice, courteous exchanges with Calderdale, but nothing happened.

From John D
Sunday, 10 May 2009

Is anyone interested in some organised community action to encourage the council to honour their responsibilities re disposal of refuse?

We are paying more council tax for a dramatically reduced service.
Biodegradeable slops are being left uncollected, which is a problem when they are knocked over.

Where they have failed to provide wheely bins large enough for 2 weeks garbage, the bin bags are accumulating and spilling across the pavement, being ripped open by dogs and cats, and attracting rats.

The council has been informed of the above, but failed to make any effective response within 10 days. The reason given for failure to provide wheely bins was that we have no back yards, and the bins would obstruct the pavement!

Can anyone suggest an easy way of finding out how many households didn’t get a wheely bin?

Is it ‘only’ the majority, without a back yard, and did those without a back yard, but with a ginnel along the rear of the houses get one?

The best option would be that those without wheely bins should continue to receive weekly rubbish collections of their main bin. For them, waste collection must be one of the few benefits obtained for their council tax.

From Graham Barker
Sunday, 10 May 2009

In an excess of zeal last Thursday, the Sita recyclers took the contents of a Kerbside box that I keep as a handy pre-sorting bin next to my front door, several yards back from the pavement. This included several items that weren’t for recycling.

Overall, I suppose we’re still technically in the teething problems stage, but the prospect of coming out of it smiling doesn’t look good. The new system is so prescriptive that I feel I’m providing Sita with a service, rather than the other way round. My suspicion is that Sita underbid to get the contract, and now can’t make a profit out of doing the job properly.

I agree with John that a weekly collection should be reinstated for those still on bins. A bit of Googling throws up the information that there are 90,000 premises in Calderdale, of which 25 per cent are deemed unsuitable for wheelie bins. That’s a lot of black bags languishing on pavements, and already I’ve seen several ruptured bags. Sita appears not to make any attempt to clean up spillages, so this will be a mounting problem.

Calderdale don’t seem bothered about the potential for a return to Victorian hygiene standards, as they have this naive view that if everything is recycled, there won’t be any noxious waste to cause a problem. Leaving aside the sheer ugliness of bits of refuse all over the place, let’s start the list with nappies, cat litter, take-away trays and wrappings, miscellaneous chemicals...

From Lou R
Monday, 11 May 2009

Driving through the Bell Hall area of Halifax the other day, I was dismayed to see so much litter, most of which consisted of flattened liquid containers.

I can only presume that either some person has kicked over various recycling bags and scattered the lot, or that Sita are not doing their job properly in collecting and making sure this debris goes into the wagon.

In any event, in no way did it look attractive, and generally there does seem to be more rubbish on the streets since this recycling programme was wheeled out.

Additionally, after having phoned the helpline once and e-mailed 'Recycle for Calderdale' twice, I am still without a green bag for recycling newspapers.

From Andrew Hall
Monday, 11 May 2009

Up in my neck of the woods, things seem to have more or less reverted to the old system.

Having been told that some of us were to receive wheelie bins and others not (which seems to have been detemined on the toss a coin - neither I nor my neighbours can see any other rationale!), one of the operatives recently told me that we were all staying on dustbin collection. It looks as though they're even collecting the black bags from the dustbins themselves (ie rather than us having to put them on the edge of the road every fortnight.)

My only slight concern is the number of dustbin bags I and others are amassing. Every fortnight I receive five bags (as opposed the the previous weekly bag - quite adequate for most people). So that's 3 surplus bags per fortnight or 78 per year. So given that 25% of the 85,000 households in Calderdale are receiving the same treatment, that's well over 1.6 million surplus bags per year, which is an awful lot of unwanted plastic!

From Kate Connell
Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Andrew can I have your spare SITA issued bin bags please? The first time I got 1 bag, the second time I got 2 bags. I need more than these. If you put any other generic non-branded bags out they will not take them.

From Andrew Hall
Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Of course you can, Kate. Just send me an email and we can arrange a delivery.

From Ross M
Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Three weeks, two missed collections.

No binbags left.

Still waiting for a white bag.

Well done to all concerned.

From Graham Barker
Sunday, 10 May 2009

Sita recyclers again tried to take stuff I keep in an old Kerbside box by my front door. When I tackled them about it, they told me that (a) they now take from Kerbside boxes as well, and (b) all addresses on my road are designated 'assisted' - that is, lots of elderly people who can't be expected to carry stuff to the kerbside. Both news to me. Their assumption seems to be that they can take anything they see that looks like recycling, whether at the kerbside or not. Beware.

From N Yorke
Friday, 15 May 2009

Dave Foster, Logistics Director for SITA UK said (here)

"We have been monitoring service levels and are pleased to report that we have had a 98% success rate in waste and recycling collections to all 87,000 households."


From Howard T
Friday, 15 May 2009

Extract from email to Calderdale:

"...week B failed to collect again yesterday. So we have still not received any official week A or week B collections, nor have our neighbours.

That is no designated collections at all.

I presume Calderdale is committed to some sort of agreement, charter or legal obligations to provide this service. In addition, if another organisation was responsible for leaving food waste etc outside for this duration, they would be closed down for health, safety or environmental reasons. And you are failing to provide the service we are paying for.

After repeated phone calls, emails and subsequent failures to collect, I think we need to consider this as a formal complaint...

And we'd like ours and our neighbours' refuse collecting."

Later in the day, an ad hoc collection was made, which was nice. But do we have to send stroppy emails to individuals at Calderdale in order to get a collection?

In fairness, I think it's an excellent initiative, but implementing it seems to be having some 'teething problems' - which should be foreseen with a bit of expertise and experience (IMHO).

From Lou R
Friday, 15 May 2009

On the subject of contacting Calderdale regarding problems with collection or lack of goods with which to recycle, I have now phoned once and e-mailed three times in an effort to obtain a green bag for papers.

Still waiting ......

From Anne H
Friday, 15 May 2009

I agree with Howard that it's an excellent initiative and could - if implemented correctly - result in really high levels of recycling - which is commendable. I would really like to see that happen!

It can/could only be implemented correctly with the good will of the public and unfortunately the council have lost a lot of that good will by contracting with Sita and by treating Kerbside in the way that they did.

The other failing is in not recognising the enormity and complexity of the task. It's complicated for the householder, the collectors and the council staff trying to explain it all to people.

The result is that phones are jammed, there are more questions than answers and the few people who are genuinely left with major problems can not always be dealt with promptly - rubbish piles up in their streets.

Howard asks "But do we have to send stroppy emails to individuals at Calderdale in order to get a collection?" Unfortunately, yes! If there really is a health problem, the emails need to be very stroppy indeed to penetrate the conciousness of council staff who are dealing with everything from "why have I not got a green bag" to "I have 4 weeks of rubbish rotting in my back yard!"

From Christine Bampton-Smith
Saturday, 16 May 2009

If you are having difficulty with your refuse and recycling collections, and live in the Luddendenfoot Ward, please let me know.


Christine Bampton-Smith
Libdem Councillor
Luddendenfoot Ward

From N Yorke
Friday, 22 May 2009

No black bag collection for the second fortnight in a row. Well, we have had one in six weeks....

Anyone else had theirs collected?

Mind you, the recycling has been collected.

From Alice Hutt
Monday, 25 May 2009

re: the best decorated wheelies (and recylcle tubs?) What a fab idea! As mentioned by Janice S in 'Wheelie bins and Kerbside bit of forum.

Piles of Rubbish
Shame to see walls of black bin bags - and it's not pleasant adding to it either! It did shock me into a reality check on my personal debris rate. I thought I was low average level! My bins are mainly full of plastic packaging - so time to take more time shopping, reflect on the plastic levels before the checkout counter, and act!

Recycle containers
There is a genuine problem of scattering recycling equipment when windy - narrowly missed my first 'roadkill' recently!

From Paul Brannigan
Friday, 29 May 2009

A quick update on the investigation into the waste contract tendering process. I have now submitted 60 documents of evidence with more to come. It is more important that the job is done properly than quickly. Will pop an update out when a milestone is reached. I've refrained from commenting on the new service, but was so incensed by Calderdale's latest press release I had to drop a line to the Courier.

"With reference to the Hebden Bridge Times "Determined to get collections sorted" we are again faced with inaccurate information from the council. Coun Baines states that 95 per cent of households are participating in recycling.

This is just wrong. Kerbside are experts in measuring participation having completed many surveys for the council and we reckon participation is around 50 per cent.

We are quite happy to do a free survey for Coun Baines to prove we are right. If Sita's Dave Foster's claim of a 98 per cent success rate in collections is true, why are there so many complaints?

His comment relating to Sita valuing the community it works in had my jaw hitting the floor. Thank goodness there are people like Coun Battye and members of the community like Chris Mackins who are refusing to be worn down by words that do not reflect reality.

In 2001 Brighton Council got rid of Sita and received £3 million in compensation, that sounds like a council of action."

From Howard T
Friday, 29 May 2009

I think the '98%' is an example of the well-known remark used to indicate that statistics aren't always as they seem, if you see what I mean.

In my recent comms to try to resolve our own situation, I'm left with the impression that council employees are swamped (and probably a bit demoralised) by the constant high level and repetition of complaints. I wonder if stats are available for these incoming complaints that must be a burden for Calderdale.

I understand that most (i.e. all but two-ish) Calderdale personnel are not allowed to have contact with Sita, they merely log the complaint and receive acknowledgment that the complaint has been logged.

This tail-wagging-the-dog approach from the supplier infers to me that they have been exposed to these problems before and they have developed a rather cynical way to address the problems and slowly dig their way out, eventually. When it suits them and meantime weld a PR machine to take control of content on Calderdale's website and make spurious claims about their wonderfulness.

From Lou R
Friday, 29 May 2009

Keep up the good work Paul - really do hope to see Kerbside back in action, as I am fed up of seeing all the debris from Sita "collections" littering our streets!

From Cllr Tim Swift
Friday, 29 May 2009

I was interested in Howard T's comment about the position regarding complaints and contacts with SITA. If he's able to provide further details of the suggestion that contacts with Sita have to go through only 2 members of staff, I'd be happy to follow this up.

On complaints generally, my suspicion is that we don't really know how many porblems there are because the systems are unable to cope. It was confirmed at the last Council meeting that the decision to introduce the service Calderdale-wide in one go, rather than a phased intrdouction, was taken by officers on the advice of Sita; this has directly led to huge logistical problems, in my opinion.

Whilst the call centre staff have performed heroically (the number of calls answered per member of staff increasing by about 50%), the increase in staffing at the call centre has been insufficient and too late. The proportion of missed calls remains frighteningly high.

From Tony W
Monday, 8 June 2009

I called the council to see why not all of my metal was taken. I was told they only take cans now (although they left some of these behind too). Silly me - I didn't take the info on the handouts seriously, thinking instead that recycling would carry on like it did when Kerbside collected.

I asked about other metals, ie aluminium foil containers, etc., and was told that their (SITA's) machines could only handle cans.

When I said that I felt it was a wasted opportunity to reclaim valuable resources, and asked what to do with metal that wasn't in the shape of a can I was told to put it in the wheelie bin.

This isn't proper recycling at all. Come back Kerbside and show them how it's supposed to work.

From Graham Barker
Monday, 8 June 2009

First Sita's David Foster claims a 98 per cent success rate; ten days later he's admitting in the Courier that they're getting it badly wrong. So presumably not 98 per cent then?

Let's now face it, Sita is one of the worst things to happen to Calderdale for some years. The quicker they go, the better. If Brighton could sack them and get compensation, so could we - and ideally, that money could be spent on resurrecting Kerbside and letting them handle all recycling for the whole of Calderdale.

From Martin G
Thursday, 11 June 2009

I have been told that the reason why the bottle container in the Park is always full, with bottles placed on the ground, is that SITA charge a lot for this service and Kerbside did it for free.

Calderdale - nul points!