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Binmen haven't time to empty 'jampacked' bins, says Canterbury City Council

Rubbish collectors do not have time to dislodge bags which become stuck in wheelie bins, the city council says.

Disgruntled residents have complained of waste being left in their bins after they’ve been emptied by Serco contractors in Canterbury.

But the local authority says it is not practical to dislodge rubbish which stays put when the bins are emptied into refuse trucks.

Ian McMillan with his half emptied bin (5891152)
Ian McMillan with his half emptied bin (5891152)

Ian McMillan, of Ashford Road, Thanington, says his bins are often left only part-emptied, forcing him to make trips to the tip to dump the uncollected rubbish.

“My beef is not that my bin gets missed, rather that it has only been emptied partially on three occasions in recent months,” he said.

“It seems that Serco staff don’t ensure bins are empty after tipping them up at the back of the refuse vehicle.”

Mr McMillan says last week his household rubbish bin was still half-filled with plastic bags after the collection round.

But when he contacted Serco to complain, he says he was told staff cannot be expected to put their hands into bins to dislodge any stray items.

“What’s wrong with using a stick or another suitable implement to dislodge it?” he said.

“If the bin is not emptied properly, there’s not enough room for the next fortnight’s non-recyclable waste.

“In driving to the tip on the other side of Canterbury, I’m painfully aware that my journeys add to the city’s traffic congestion and to pollution levels. Then there were my fuel costs, and I had, of course, already paid for the refuse collection through my council tax.

“Imagine if you booked into a hotel room to find the bins were half full of items left by previous guests.

“I suggest hotel cleaners, who must be under the same sort of time pressures as refuse teams, wouldn’t keep their job for long if they failed to empty the bins completely.”

City council spokesman Rob Davies says the issue is one for residents to resolve themselves.

“The bin is lifted onto the vehicle and given a thorough shake in order to get all of the rubbish out,” he said.

“If the resident has compacted their rubbish to such an extent that some has become wedged in, or put something in that has prevented other rubbish from coming out, it is their responsibility to resolve this so that the collection can take place on the next occasion. The bin crews have rounds to complete and it is not practical for them to take a stick and prod away at someone’s rubbish to try and loosen it up each time it has been compacted in so tightly at the bottom of the bin.”

Serco has recently come under fire for failing to hit bin collection targets, despite them being made three times easier to meet by the city council, which has also injected more cash into the service.

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