In praise of binmen

It being Friday, and BC being in a mood of goodwill to all men (and women too, of course), we thought we'd be nice to Lewisham Council for a change.

The council has taken flak over a variety of issues on here recently, from the state of the pavements to its ill-advised housing PFI contract. But one thing Lewisham does well, in our opinion, is waste collection and recycling. And so we thought we'd give a word or two of praise for it.

Unlike some other councils, Lewisham still collects rubbish weekly. Its recycling services are very convenient, with plenty of communal bins available and the weekly collection - unlike that of other areas - doesn't require householders to bag items of varying types separately. Big green bins are available on request, and the bins and boxes are easy and simple to order. Fly-tipping (all too common, unfortunately) is cleared up quickly and we've never seen street cleaners so regularly in any other borough (though it's a shame that Brockley needs such regular cleaning).

But is this simply BC's sunny mood speaking? Is our satisfaction with Lewisham's binmen felt by our readers too? Or do you disagree?

40 comments:

Headhunter said...

Rubbish collection is very timely. They come by our place at about 6.30am pretty much every Friday, you can almost set your watch by it. However recyclables collection is more varied.

For a while before Christmas they only came every other week and our green bin was usually completely compacted and full. We had no choice but to chuck recyclables in the grey bin. It's the same state now, unless for some reason they came round again later than they usually dom, but they hadn't been when I left home at 8am. If they haven't been today, we'll be back to putting recyclables in the waste bin.

In conclusion:
Rubbish collection: good
Recycling: average, could do with improvement

Anonymous said...

They seem really good to me. I'm not personally bothered by recycling though.

Anonymous said...

I was really impressed that they came on Saturday for general waste and Sunday for recycling last weekend to catch-up for missed colllections in the snow.

creepylesbo said...

I've never had any problems with Lewisham recycling or waste, although two of my wheelie bins have mysteriously 'gone missing' when they were packed full and possibly doing something they shouldn't be (they were both full of garden waste - but I'm in the upstairs flat and had been clearing out the front garden - and wasn't previously aware (until my bins disappeared) if there were any issues regarding special bags for green waste etc. Still, being TWO wheelie bins down for three flats is annoying, especially when one of them was one of those lovely big ones.

The Wickham Man said...

The refuse and recycling service has always been good around our part of Brockley. I just assumed all collections were of this standard all over London.

Maybe others who have lived in other parts of London have experienced a poor collection service? No complaints here.

Tamsin said...

A Lewisham Wheelie bin apparently once ended up in Teheran airport...Go and look there for them!
Love the bin decorations in Drakefell Road by the way.

Tamsin said...

A Lewisham Wheelie bin apparently once ended up in Teheran airport...Go and look there for them!
Love the bin decorations in Drakefell Road by the way.

drakefell debaser said...

I find the collection very good for both rubbish and recycling but, I would like to be able to recycle more plastic from food packaging through the green bin system as this is pretty much all we send to landfill.

Anonymous said...

Yeah have to agree, they do a very good job for little thanks. But good on them. If i was to whinge it would be that they leave my bin half way up the street after they empty it but its a small complaint and generally they are great.

Anonymous said...

"they do a very good job for little thanks"

then why not go out and thank them?

Hugh said...

Be nice if they bothered bringing the bin back to where they found it rather than leaving it on the street.

Anonymous said...

@drakefell

I don't think there is any landfilling from Lewisham's waste as it all ends up in that incinerator at New Cross

tyrwhitt ali said...

For once I disagree with you Hugh, why should they bring it back. Everywhere else I've ever lived, you have to take your rubbish to the street or they don't collect it. I used to live in Tower Hamlets and their recycling provision was rubbish. We used to have three large bins that were supposed to serve the whole of the marina area - if you didn't get your recycling in the day they were emptied, then you stood no chance. Brockley was a positive revelation!

Headhunter, I find the recycling blokes normally come round at about 9.30m/10am as they are separate from the bin men, so I'd keep my fingers crossed if I were you.

I also find the early morning wake-up call at 6.30am is pretty useful for waking me up on a Friday morning! Otherwise, I really wouldn't want to get out of bed!

Headhunter said...

Back before the days of wheelie bins, when I was a nipper, the binmen used to actually collect the bins from the driveway down the side of the house, empty them and take them back down the side of the house. They do a good job, but they got it easy these days.

drakefell debaser said...

A Lewisham Wheelie bin apparently once ended up in Teheran airport

I bet that amused the Iranians. If a wheelie bin from Teheran were to arrive on a Heathrow carouse there would be chaos.

Clare said...

I commented about this on my blog quite a while back. I do agree. Our recycling collection is every week, as is the main bin.

I'd rather they didn't bring the bins out if they aren't left out - if you're on holiday they end up left on the street for ages unless a kindly neighbour brings them back in.

You can recycle Types 1 and 2 plastics through the green bin, which covers a lot. Type 4 can be recycled by taking to recycling plants, as can tetrapak.

From my (fairly limited) experience, the Lewisham system for recycling is simpler than most areas and they take a wider range of stuff.

quick brown fox said...

Anon @ 14.19 - I wrote to Lewisham council a couple of years back to compliment them on the quality of the rubbish collection service and on the diligence of the streetsweepers, and asked them to pass the message on to the relevant people. I have lived in several other, allegedly more up-market, parts of London and this is one area where Brockley wins hands down, and I think they deserve credit for it.

drakefell debaser said...

Claire, can you give me some examples of type 1 & 2 plastic please? Going by the Lewisham guidance they say that most plastic bottles are fine but yogurt pots and double layered plastic (I don’t know what this is) cannot be recycled. I believe putting the wrong things in causes more trouble than not putting it in, so if in doubt we bin it.

Can I throw the typical packaging you get from say a packet of supermarket mince in the green bin for example?

John from Moonbow said...

From my experiences in Catford, New Cross and Brockley the street sweepers have always done an amazing job. Brockley Road is always swept at dawn so it was never easy to say thanks to these guys. In my opinion, the person tasked with employing the street sweepers should be given the job of filling every other vacant position in the council.

Clare said...

Most plastic packaging has a number on it which indicates the type of plastic it is. Type 1 is PET - eg Fizzy drink and water bottles. Type 2 is HDPE - eg Milk bottles, bleach, cleaners and most shampoo bottles.

Yoghurt pots are Type 6 and Margarine Tubs type 5, they can't go in the bin. Most carrier bags are type 4, but some (eg Lidl's cheapest ones) are type 2 so can go in the bin. Sainsbury's have a bin for type 4 carrier bags at a lot of their shops.

HTH

drakefell debaser said...

Thanks Claire. I will look out for the numbers.

Anonymous said...

Just a word on those plastics, its does say on the Council's website that its plastic bottles only.

http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/Environment/RubbishWasteAndRecycling/Recycling/GreenBoxScheme/WhatToRecycle.htm

Danja said...

That's just a rule of thumb to avoid people sticking anything and everything in.

The numbers are inside the recyling triangle thing. Examples and explantions toward the end of this page: http://www.wasteonline.org.uk/resources/InformationSheets/Packaging.htm

Clare said...

Yes - they are describing what I have described as type 1 and type 2 plastics! We had a letter from the council with our bin that clearly stated that they take Type 1 and Type 2 plastic - what they are trying to do on the website is simplify the explanation, but IMO they actually make it more complicated. As long as you look out for the numbers then you can't really go wrong.

Anonymous said...

I have contacted Lewisham Council in the past about the type 1 & 2 plastics. They did send something to every household in 2005 stating type 1 & 2 plastics, but since then their contractor only wants plastic bottles, hence saying that on their website and all their other literature that we've recieved through our doors....

Anonymous said...

In October our wheelie bin and our neighbours' green recycling wheelie bin were stolen. We phoned to ask for a new one and order a green recycling wheelie bin for ourselves at the same tme, but were told there was an eight-week wait. Which probably explains why people have been stealing them. Four months later we still have no bins.

The bin men have been taking our black rubbish bags away, though - after an initial build-up of a few weeks.

And now our recycling box was nicked this Wednesday.

In summary:
Household waste sanitation engineers: Good.
Detritus receptacle replacement services: Bad.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of serious shit happening on this planet, when will you carpetbaggers who weaseled your way into Brockley learn. It's always the same old crap from you white politically correct middle classes. Waffling on about your own self importance and nothing else.

Zeus is back.

Brockley Nick said...

Was that curious rant apropos of anything in particular, Dr Zeus?

drakefell debaser said...

care to suggest a topic, anonyzeus?

Brockley Nick said...

I hate every ape I see,
From chimpan-A to chimpanzee,
No, you'll never make a monkey out of me!

*Troy sees the Statue of Liberty*

Oh my gosh, I was wrong!
It was Earth, all along!
Yes, you've finally made a monkey out of me!
- Dr Zeus

Anonymous said...

be careful the trolls are on the rise. I went to the Argie Bargie for a 99p pint last night try to avoid it as a rule too many white trash folk for my liking, local lodge of Brockley chavs, and there were a group of pointy hats slumped over their suds in a corner, thought it was a meeting of the local clan, would have joined but looked like a high council of local trolls. be warned.

Anonymous said...

anyway Kafka was once asked why did the chicken cross Wickham road to which he replied.

" Hardly the most urgent question to ask of a lowly insurance clerk who woke up that morning as a hen"

Indeed!!! Why did Princess Diana cross the road?

Because the silly girl wasn't wearing a seat belt.

chrisgee said...

Took them months to provide me with recycling bins when I first moved to Lewisham. And they wonder why their recyling rate is amongst the worst not just in London, but in the whole of England

tyrwhitt ali said...

I seem to remember that there was a UK shortage of green bins as we'd sold our stock pile to the Germans. Can't remember where I heard it though!

The Bag lady said...

Tyrwhitt Ali - your version of the wheelie bin saga seems to have got a bit garbled - we didn't have any to sell in the first place!!! See the extract below from the Council website:

"A fire at a major wheelie bin production plant in France recently destroyed much of its stock and has affected supplies to the UK.

The manufacture of wheelie bins is so specialised that there are only two or three major makers to buy them from. And in Europe, the demand for wheelie bins has risen so dramatically in some countries, as people take up recycling in earnest, that suppliers are being inundated with orders for millions of pounds worth of bins and can’t keep up with demand."

Nina said...

All London councils take type 1 (PET) and type 2 (HDPE or PE-HD) plastic aka drinks bottles including milk and some fruit cartons and the very occasional yogurt pot. Some cleaning fluids come in this type of plastic. Most shampoo bottles are not made from this type of plastic.

I think the collection in Lewisham is excellent but I'm no longer surprised by fly tipping- I've lived in Camden, Islington and Lambeth and they all collected large items without charge. This borough doesn't do that.

Anonymous said...

They do, however, do a collection of 3 large items for £15 and have a very good centre at new cross for disposing.

Anonymous said...

There was fly tipping when large items were collected free of charge. So not necessarily the cost. Spotted neighbour's fly tipping once, they'd driven round to someone else's street to dump rubbish, obviously trip to new cross tip just too much trouble.

Bins, why do some people arrange them so carefully on public footpaths, when they should go on their property?

Anonymous said...

I've been impressed with the service here especially in comparison with where we were before - the recycling is very easy and they even collect it if it doesn't quite fit in the bins. A random example of the service I've been impressed with - we found a dead fox in our front garden on a Sat afternoon (of a bank holiday weekend), called the council as we didn't know what to do and within a couple of hours it had been collected

Anonymous said...

I agree, Lewisham do a stirling job keeping the streets clean. Not helped by those who insist their dogs craps in the middle of the pavements!

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