Go to navigation

Tackling the holiday waste mountain

Date: 08/01/2008           Category: Waste and Recycling

Christmas was not much of a holiday for the refuse crews who dealt with the huge amount of waste produce by households across Medway throughout Christmas and the new year. The Veolia crews under contract to Medway Council worked flat out to tackle mountains of ripped-off wrapping paper as well as more than usual amounts of household waste. “The amount of rubbish put out for collection by households in Medway typically rises by around 35 per cent at this time of year,” explained Medway Council waste minimisation manager Sarah Dagwell. “That is a huge amount of extra material to collect and we rely on our partners from Veolia to pull out all the stops and work harder than ever while most people are enjoying some time off,” she added. Cllr Phil Filmer, Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services, added a personal tribute to the work of the crews. “Not only have they worked incredibly hard, but they have done so in a great spirit. I have had messages from local people who really enjoyed the fact that some of the collectors dressed up in Christmas costumes.” While the Veolia crews had Christmas Day and Boxing Day at home, they then had to collect two days rubbish on the Thursday and then catch up with the week’s rubbish on the following Saturday. They then had to catch up with the missed New Year’s Day collection by working the next Saturday. “We had two days off at Christmas but then really had to go some to catch up,” explained operations manager Darren Gardiner. The freighters collected both household rubbish and recyclables as normal, but collections of green garden waste and bulky items were suspended for the period. This freed up an extra eight vehicles that were pressed into service to help shift the extra refuse. “It’s not just the extra rubbish but the fact that people’s collection days change that makes our job harder,” explained Darren. “Although the council publicises the changes as widely as possible there are always people who forget, or put their rubbish out too late.” With Medway Council determined to keep the environment “clean and green”, the contractors returned to some roads as many as four times to collect rubbish bags left out after the refuse freighter had passed. With recycling also peaking over the holiday period, householders have been asked to stagger their visits to the council’s 56 recycling ‘bring sites’ if possible. “It would be helpful if people could bear with us during this busy period and, if possible, find another bottle bank if the first one they visit is full,” said Sarah. It was also a busy time for street cleaners who had to ensure that shopping areas were kept clean and, as usual, only had Christmas Day off. They also had to make sure that excess bottles and cans were cleared from recycling bring sites on a daily basis and clear up after late night partygoers. Medway's household waste and recycling sites were also very busy, with many residents taking the opportunity to make and early start on spring cleaning by clearing out unwanted items over the holiday period. ends