My hackles were raised on the street this week as the Council delivered wheelie bins to the us. Much of the borough has had them for some time, but our street, for whatever reason, has been a little oasis still using black bags. There’s no doubt that black bags have their problems, including attack by foxes, and that the operatives only clear the bags, and not anything else which has been dropped or discarded outside of the bags, but they seem to suit our street, for all the downsides.
Wheelie bins, on the other hand, are hideous, ugly and cumbersome. Our street is terraced for the full length, and we have no rear access because we back onto a railway, so everyone has to have the bins in the front garden. The front gardens are about 3 metres deep. Each household has three bins, which means where houses have been split into two or three flats, there are six or nine bins in the front garden. The street is relative attractive – not a conservation area, but Edwardian, consistent and, because of the small front gardens, we’re not cursed with gardens being passed over to paved parking places, like some nearby streets which are in conservation areas.
There has been chatter on the street between neighbours, and the chatter has been largely negative, but resigned to being stuck with them. For me the worst thing is the look of the place with these bland, chunky and unsightly boxes around us, and the inability to hide them down a side alley or in our back gardens. But there’s also the practicalities involved in them – how can it be more effective for binmen to wheel these things to and from the vans; why can’t households share bins rather than have three each; why does the food bin have the same capacity as the refuse and recycling bins; why aren’t people given a smaller bin by default, and not the bigger ones?
And we haven’t even begun to contemplate bins being left out on narrow pavements, obstructing those with shopping, or pushchairs or disabilities; the prospect of bins being overloaded and causing similar environmental problems to the bags and the difficulty of moving the bins for some people, perhaps including the elderly. And is the Council going to collect the plethora of bins and boxes they’s already provided through the previous regime? I suspect not.
It seems that Councils all over the country are intent on saying that wheelie bins work elsewhere, so why not here – but it avoids the issue of wrecking the look of every street in the country and treats everyone exactly the same. I’ll be chasing my Council for a financial justification.