Black sacks: my recent press commentary

I was asked to make a short comment for the Southend Echo (printed in yesterday’s edition). Here is what I wrote:

One of the duties of a local authority is to ensure the streets are kept clean. I am concerned that the ending of the black sacks distribution is making our streets dirtier. Earlier this year, during the budget discussions, I warned that the removal of these sacks could prove a retrograde step, likely to cost more than any saving made.

At the time I made this comment: “The decision to save £47,000 by no longer providing black refuse sacks is one that could easily be a false economy. Litter and fly-tipping feature large in many councillors’ casework inboxes, and this cut has the potential to make this an even bigger feature. Whilst most households will grudgingly purchase their own supply of black sacks, there will be those who choose either to dump everything in the pink sacks, to use carrier bags and the like, or to just throw their general trash wherever they can get away with it. All these options will increase the workload for street cleaners and will add more woes for the neighbours.

Cutting black sacks saved less than one-tenth of one percent of council tax. I am now being told that some streets are being visited three times a week in order to pick up pink sacks that include general refuse (and therefore not picked up as part of the normal collection). There is a cost associated with this, a cost borne by all council tax payers. We can easily imagine that the remedial work of picking up badly filled pink sacks, etc., will cost more than the intended saving.

Of course I want recycling rates to go up – but how is it to be achieved if residents pink sacks end up being treated as general refuse? I think we should reverse this false economy, and stop annoying our residents. Clean streets must be a priority.

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One Response to Black sacks: my recent press commentary

  1. Alan Grubb says:

    My own view is that the council nolonger supplying black bags which when used do go to land fill sights, in a step in the right direction, if my memery serves me correctly the decesion was taken last year. Any one can by a roll of black bags for £1.00.

    We as a family (four aduilts) use about one black bag every four weeks. However if you walk the streets of the Wards, you will find many properties where the only rubbish bags which are left outside the property are in fact black bags.

    Therefore cost is not the problem. In fact we have one property in Fairfax Drive which put out twenty black bags on the day of collection, no pink bags of waste food bins.

    Therefore this to me, clearly shows that there is a section of society who will not recycle. There is a need for the council to come down hard on the resident who refuses to recycle.

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