Lewisham Council asks BC readers about the future of business waste

Nigel Tyrell, Head of Environment for Lewisham Council, would like your feedback on possible changes to the way in which the Council charges business for waste disposal. It matters not only to local business owners, but to all of us, because the Council is now in a position to profit from waste recycling, as well as because an effective business waste management strategy means less dumping and fewer scenes like this.

Nigel says:

Our new recycling contract means that we now can get an income for the waste we deliver, rather than having to pay for disposal or recycling. This would seem to be a great opportunity to change the way we deal with trade waste. 


Our income for the recyclables would cover the labour and transport costs, and could even generate a small surplus to support some hard-pressed services, such as street cleansing. 


We think that this could also be a good way to support local businesses during these tougher times. We'd like to make it really worthwhile for businesses to recycle. We're aiming to provide a very simple, 'budget airline' kind of offer to businesses:


We'll collect all your recycling, free of charge perhaps with a minimum residual waste bin charge 
Businesses to provide the bags or bins for this service, or tie-up bundles of cardboard rather than having to hire our bins or buy our bags 


We'd re-model a version of LoveLewisham (apps and site) to allow businesses to order collections, and allow our refuse workers to report tonnages disposed and close jobs, etc. 


The new site would make it clear exactly what kind of waste we'd collect for free, if would also show a live total of tonnes recycled, and perhaps the value directed to front-line services. As for timescales, I'd like to make a start as soon as possible. 


We're thinking about using this approach in Deptford to start with, but that would mainly aimed at improving the street scene and helping to relieve the operational pressure on our cleansing service. My team are currently looking at the financial implications and the deliverability of the collection service. 


We need to make a judgement about what income we're likely to lose from collecting regular waste as people shift to our free recycling service. 


Should we go down the route of offering this service to new customers only? 
Should we start with schools and charities, or pilot it in a given area (maybe Brockley?). 


I'd like to jump straight in, once I'm happy it won't leave our finances worse-off. 


It would be really helpful to be able to take a sounding from Brockley Central, and businesses that might be interested in this service.

Our own experience of owning a small business in the borough of Westminster is that they do not mess around. Waste management charges are high and enforcement draconian. The cost of a few bin bags a week is not insignificant for small businesses, struggling to get by. So a scheme that cuts costs should improve Lewisham's competitiveness as a place to run a business and ensure that fewer cowboys opt out of the system and try to dump their waste.

Please let Nigel know what you think? And is Brockley a good place to trial the new scheme?

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would hope that 'Nigel' will be taking a broader consesus throughout the borough, and particularly in Deptford, rather than just sitting on his backside and getting in touch with a local blog where the majority of people who comment are probably householders . . .

Sue said...

I would love it if my neighbours could keep their wheelie bins outside their house (where there is sufficient room) and not on the pavement.

Bul Boss said...

"It would be really helpful to be able to take a sounding from Brockley Central, and businesses that might be interested in this service."


To repeat for the hard of thinking "...and businesses..." do you have some special knowledge that he's "sitting on his backside" and not consulting business holders, or did you jump down from the tyre you were swinging on just to make a wild assertion? And why should householders not have a view? the council represents householders as well.

Next...

Tim said...

Anonymous, you make cross. Here is a man who is trying to be constructive and reach out, and your first reaction is negativity. I suggest you change your attitude. Your life will be better for it.

Anonymous said...

My HOP buddies think BC is full of moaners and ninnies - I couldn't argue. I come here to judge others and say things I wouldn't say to people's faces...

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon - you are that moaning ninnie. Congrats.

The Council obviously feels this is a useful forum (which is read more widely than SE4) - hence the post.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand.

Mb said...

Sounds interesting...

Can't say I've explicitly looked but not noticed the burst bags of waste food at BX recently? If it's sorted, well done.

Tj said...

Sounds like a great idea .... As long as it doesnt lead to piles of recyclables, in bags or otherwse, 'littering' the street. Too many businesses leave there Lewisham blue bins outside the front of e business permanently or for several days a week. Would be good if steps are taken to prevent this, like ensuring the recyclables are kept on the premises and collected from there.

oryx said...

I think it's a great idea, and a win-win situation if I've understood it correctly.

In my experience, though, the sort of mess depicted in the linked photo is just as likely to be created by the binmen as by careless locals.

The admin and managerial staff in charge of refuse collection at Lewisham seem great - professional and helpful (and anon @ 14.02, your comment is out of order) but the operatives are another matter.

Brockley Nick said...

@Oryx - the problems at Brockley Cross were investigated by Lewisham Council and found to be the result of businesses which did not have any means of disposing of commercial waste, other than dumping in bin bags.

@Ian - the problem has got a lot better.

Westsider said...

I think this is a good idea, but I hope that it will go hand in hand with tougher enforcement for companies that don't deal with their waste properly.

Mb said...

@Oryx, in that particular case the local street cleaner was (and is) a star. I passed him most mornings clearing up every scrap of fox strewn detritus. Worth every penny of his probably meager wage.

Jerome said...

Agree about the operatives. Tressillian Road gets its bins emptied (and rubbish scattered) between 6.00am and 7.30am every Friday morning. I always wonder whether they are actually allowed to operate so early and wake the street up (aren't there regulations about business noise before 8.00am) - or if they are starting early to finish early.

NAT said...

@ Jerome, to finish early so as not to cause congestion (and make their own job slower)during rush hour perhaps.

What time do you wake up there in Telegraph Hill?

NAT said...

Sorry Tressillian, not TH.

Main point stands.

Tressilliana said...

The bin men are out and about even earlier than 6am in my experience. I have no problem with this - I think the service is excellent. We have weekly collections of both ordinary rubbish and recycling which is not that common in England, and they scarcely ever miss a week, regardless of weather. Count your blessings, Jerome!

NAT said...

(and rubbish scattered), that'll be the foxes.

Jerome said...

NAT - I'm not a fool - the rubbish scattered is not the foxes - and I have seen them undertaking collections well into the afternoon on other days and in other areas in Lewisham

Tressilliana is right - it is often pre 6.00am.

I am glad about the colleciton - not glad to be woken up pre 5.00am, especially when I have a shift that day at the hospital.

It's a valid question re when they are legally allowed to start work and it still stands...

Monkeyboy said...

Not an issue except on Wednesdays when I get rudely awakened by the dustmen. I put my trousers on, have a cup of tea and I think about leaving the house. I feed the pigeons I sometimes feed the sparrows too it gives me a sense of enormous well being.

You should try it, calms me right down.

mb said...

...they are legally allowed because it's not ilegal. What about the shift workers who sleep in until 3:00pm? Whatabout those who need to drive at 8:00am? its a big, crowded city. Everyone is inconvinienced at some point. Starting their rounds at 6:00 is less disruptive to most.

It's a utilitarian argument don't you know.

Jerome said...

mb - great that answers my question: Are they legally allowed?

Its irrelevant whether I like it or dont like it - I was asking whether it was legal.

And yes its a big city - but you dont have builders starting work before 8.00am because of laws in place.

NAT said...

Jerome, you also have building work going throughout the night where that is allowed by the Council because of its nature, proximity to residential etc.

It would surprise me if any borough had a prohibition on early morning waste collection.

I'm surprised that your bin persons are messy. Ours (Sandrock Rd.) arn't.

oryx said...

I've checked out the borough's stance on early refuse collection and they are meant not to start before 6am (ours were coming about 5am).

@Mb - don't know what gave you the idea I was talking about the street cleaner in a completely different part of the borough from where I live. Maybe I didn't make it clear enough that I was using that photo purely as an example of mess left on the street.

Nearly two weeks now since our recycling bin was emptied - and the last time the bin men came they not only didn't collect it, they filled our bin with the neighbours' recycling in so we haven't been able to use it for a fortnight! Can't see business owners being happy of they get a rubbish ;-) service like this.....

Mb said...

Ok, well it was a poor example. It was mess caused by a combination of poor disposal and foxes with a taste for fried chicken, not slovenly bin men. Your right in that it's an example of "mess"

Anonymous said...

I think it is good that an attempt is being made to consult with the community.
Regarding waste, there is a serious problem in parts of Lewisham [of which Brockley Cross is one example] of waste and litter being strewn across the streets.
Clearly one of the main causes is foxes tearing open litter bags and rummaging through those bins that have no lids. The problem is often most acute around takeaway and food outlets. Is it not possible to fox proof the waste?

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