Recyling is Rubbish in East Cambs Villages

A COUNCIL officer has apologised for the state of plastic recycling in areas of East Cambridgeshire. Since the council introduced plastic recycling collections at Easter, the Ely Standard has received calls from members of the public in Soham, Haddenham

A COUNCIL officer has apologised for the state of plastic recycling in areas of East Cambridgeshire.

Since the council introduced plastic recycling collections at Easter, the Ely Standard has received calls from members of the public in Soham, Haddenham and Ely, complaining that the council's contractor, Veolia, was skipping rounds and not delivering the correct bags or boxes to dispose of their waste.

The district council employs multinational waste disposal company Veolia to take away rubbish, at a cost of more than £1.5million a year.

The recycling contract alone is worth £786,595, £16,000 more than what Veolia were paid in 2006/7.


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Mandy Briden, from Aspen Close in Ely, said she had received only one bag for recycling plastic delivered since April. She and her partner have given up using their diesel powered, environmentally unfriendly method of driving to Littleport to pick up more bags.

"They charge you for the bags, and it's getting more and more expensive for the diesel. We don't have much money, so what's the point?

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"I'm aware that recycling is the way to go," she added. "The council is encouraging us to do it but if they [Veolia] aren't going to do what they are paid for and collect it then people will stop putting it out. If we don't have the right bags, they refuse to take them away. We started using black bags, but because they wouldn't collect them we had to leave them blowing about outside or making the place smell."

Cyril Peach, is among residents of Linden Way in Haddenham who have had their recycling left uncollected for 12 days. "I challenged the council to come and see for themselves," he said, "and they did come yesterday evening.

"I feel sorry for the man, he's not been in the job long and he's up against an international company who just won't take any notice at the moment."

Waste Strategy team leader for East Cambridgeshire District Council, Dave White, the officer who visited Haddenham, said: "We are already aware that there are problems and things aren't going as well as they should. The message is that we are sorry and we don't expect the public to put up with this."

He added that when plastic recycling began, Veolia were under-resourced and relying on agency staff. They have since taken on an extra lorry and are in the process of employing 12 extra people to try and cope with the amount of plastic that residents are recycling.

"At the district council, we have also taken on temporary staff to help us get over the blip," added Mr White. "We as well as the public are going through the trials and tribulations and even Veolia would probably accept that things aren't going to their satisfaction."

Talks between the council executive and Veolia's area managers are scheduled for July 4.

A spokesperson for Veolia said: "We are working closely with the council to ensure these matters are resolved by providing further resources to the contract. Our priority is to deliver an efficient waste management service to the residents of East Cambridgeshire through the measures we have put in place."

nEast Cambridgeshire joined other district councils from across the county in accepting plastic waste for recycling earlier this year - South Cambridgeshire is the only remaining authority in Cambridgeshire which does not yet have a kerbside plastic collection. Private waste contractors are benefitting to the tune of millions every year from the increase in recycling across the UK.

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