Rubbish in Sainsburys' car park, Northfield
Rubbish in Sainsburys’ car park, Northfield. Image by Marverine Cole. Click for larger

[Originally posted on 30th December 2010. Republished following a technical problem]

A backlog in refuse collection around the city is causing piles of rubbish to be left in the streets and dumped around local recycling centres.

Yesterday, this image of rubbish piled up around the recycling banks in the car park of Sainsburys in Northfield was posted on twitter by Birmingham journalist and TV presenter Marverine Cole. Marverine was out taking her mother to do some shopping yesterday morning when they spotted the mess. A Smurfit Kappa recycling worker was “standing there looking at it all, scratching his head”.

Marverine chatted to the Smurfit Kappa employee about the mess. “He told me he was having to push all the dumped bin bags aside just to get access to the bins. He was having difficulty getting his van close enough to pick up each recycling bin and empty them into the back of his own van. He told me ‘It’s not my job to clear it up, but it makes you wonder why the council haven’t emptied people’s bins’.”

“Other shoppers trying to drop off recycling items were visibly horrified at the sight they saw.” she adds. The recycling worker also told Marverine that the problem was widespread.

Another twitter user, Melissa Becker also stated that she had seen a lot of rubbish accumulated in bins outside the Northfield Shopping Centre on Tuesday.

With household refuse collections having been miss or delayed over and before Christmas, and people having a larger amount of rubbish over the festive period, black bags line the streets.

Birmingham City Council have claimed that delays are due to adverse weather, the extra refuse created by Christmas (up to 30% more), bank holidays and ongoing industrial action. A hundred casual workers have been drafted in by the council to work over the New Year weekend and bank holidays to try and clear the backlog, as refuse workers continue industrial action.

Tommy Wallace, Director of Fleet and Waste Management for Birmingham City Council, said “While we are doing everything we can to offer as complete a service as possible, the timing of this action inevitably means that there will be some delays to scheduled collection rounds.

“However contrary to some reports, it is not true that residents may go up to a month without a collection. Where industrial action makes it impossible for us to make collections on the scheduled day we are endeavouring to pick up the waste within a week using our casual workforce. All neighbouring Local Authorities have had refuse collection services disrupted by the severe weather, and in Birmingham this is compounded by industrial action. ”

The council have previously advised people whose regular collection has been missed to leave their rubbish bags out for collection, and they will be collected as soon as possible. Household recycling centres are also open for extended hours at the moment so people can get rid of their rubbish responsibly.  Lifford Lane recycling centre will be open from 8am until 9pm daily, according to the council’s website.

Residents who normally have their collection on a Monday have been worst hit, as there was industrial action on Monday 20th December and a bank holiday on Monday 27th. Our own rubbish was last collected twelve days ago. BCC have said that there will be collections using the temporary staff over this bank holiday weekend, but be aware that there will be NO recycling collection on Monday 3rd January.

When was your last collection?

Send us your pictures & stories of any local problems with rubbish in the streets.

Read more:

Birmingham City Council Waste Management

Birmingham Mail: Birmingham City Council blames bins backlog on triple whammy

Birmingham Post: Birmingham bin bags could take a month to be collected

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