Rubbish and Recyling Collection is...Rubbish!

I KNOW I started off last week by referring to the Letters Page, but I was really interested to see two letters this week from people who have recently moved to the area and are complaining about the recycling and rubbish collection in East Cambs. I have

I KNOW I started off last week by referring to the Letters' Page, but I was really interested to see two letters this week from people who have recently moved to the area and are complaining about the recycling and rubbish collection in East Cambs.

I have to say that I am in total agreement. As anyone who reads this column regularly will know, I love living in Ely, but probably the only drawback has been the rubbish and recycling facilities here. After months of complaining and pleading, I still don't receive black rubbish bags and am forced to buy my own. I complained and someone from Veolia did actually come to see me. He called in at the office as I said that's where I would be during the day and told me the reason I wasn't getting bin bags was because I didn't have a "visible entrance". Admittedly, it's not visible from the road, but if the contractors walked 20 feet from the road they would see the gate, which the postman somehow manages to find in the mornings. So I showed the Veolia man where it was. That was weeks ago and I still don't get bin bags. One of the letter-writers this week complains that his bin bags are thrown into the garden. To be honest, I wouldn't mind that. Please can I just have some bags?

As far as recycling goes, the system here is fairly pathetic. Brown bags for garden rubbish! I don't actually get the brown paper bags, so I haven't had the happy experience of leaving them outside only to find they haven't been collected or have gone soggy in the rain and split open. I can't imagine a more useless way to organise the collection of garden and food waste.

One of the first things I did when I first moved here was phone the council and ask for a recycling box. After several phone calls I finally received one (they managed to find my concealed entrance!) but there was no leaflet to let me know which days the recycling would be collected so I had to make another phone call. After the second time of it not being collected I phoned and complained, but was told I had to leave it next to the road because the contractors won't walk two feet up the drive to pick it up, which means leaving it on a busy public footpath in Market Street and I don't have any confidence that it would stay there for very long, so again, I am forced to make my own arrangements.


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So much for reducing my carbon footprint. I am currently stomping around East Cambridgeshire with the equivalent of size 9 boots in an effort to be responsible. I do try to time my visits to Grunty Fen and local supermarkets with other journeys rather than make a special trip, but it's not always possible.

It really shouldn't be this difficult. Where I used to live we had wheelie bins, which are much more hygienic and there's plenty of room for all your rubbish and recycling. Everyone complained about the fortnightly collections when they were first introduced, but after a while most people got the hang of separating their rubbish and it worked well.

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My personal experience here in Ely seems to be echoed around the district and it is totally unacceptable for so many people to be receiving such a poor service. Even if I eventually get bin bags and paper sacks and they agree to pick up my recycling I will never be convinced that it is a system that compares favourably with other councils or serves the people of East Cambs well. The thing is, if you don't make things easy for people, they do one of two things; they make their own arrangements or they don't bother.

INFO: Write and let me know if you are experiencing similar problems at: debbie.davies@archant.co.uk or 38 Market Street, Ely, Cambs, CB7 4LS.

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