Published: 06:00, 25 June 2021
| Updated: 15:32, 25 June 2021
A pensioner says she is at her wits’ end because bin men have been refusing to collect a communal recycling bin that is being repeatedly ‘contaminated’ with the wrong type of rubbish.
More than four weeks after the last collection Jane Francis, 75, says plastics and glass in the overflowing bin pose a health and hygiene threat for residents of Cameron Court in Churchill Road, Dover.
She said she’s “never known anything like it” in the 31 years she has lived there, having been the first to move into the 18-home complex when it was completed in 1990.
The problem stems from a mystery resident or possibly non-residents passing by and putting household waste in the recycling bin, which is not allowed.
Refuse collectors, working for the council’s contractor Veolia, are not allowed to take away ‘contaminated’ recycling, and are not expected to sort through it. So they are leaving it when they visit the complex every two weeks.
But when a reporter from our sister paper the Dover Mercury visited the site, they could not see what was contaminating the container and contacted the council.
Since we stepped in, a spokesman has confirmed the bin does need emptying and pledged that the authority will work with the management company to find a way forward.
“At 75, I feel it’s disgusting that people are so ill informed about what goes where..."
Mrs Francis had said: “At 75, I feel it’s disgusting that people are so ill informed about what goes where.
“I approached the refuse collectors and asked them on Friday if they were going to empty our recycling. All three of them sat in the cab and all turned round and said in unison ‘NO’.
“When I asked what we were supposed to do they replied ‘go to the council’.”
She added: “The majority of us are reasonable but there are people who seem to think that anything would go.
“I have found carrier bags that are inappropriate for recycling and I’ve had to empty it out and put it in general rubbish.”
Property manager Harvey Gee, from Parsons Son and Bradley Ltd, told us he has twice written to the 18 households warning that failure to use the bins accordingly means he will have to instruct someone to remove the recycling and the cost will be added to everyone’s service charges.
But Mrs Francis said it’s unfair that residents who abide by the rules will have to pick up the tab for those who won’t.
It’s also possible that non-residents are contributing, meaning that if the problem persists and if the bin men won’t empty the container, removal costs could be continuous.
Mrs Francis said residents have seen people coming in to the complex to dispose of rubbish. And Mr Gee said where the bin is unlockable and the site has no surveillance, the culprits can’t be identified, re-educated and or billed.
Dover District Council, which employs Veolia to collect rubbish, said on Tuesday: “We are sorry to hear that residents have had issues with the communal bins.
“We have visited the property and can confirm that the recycling bin does need collecting, and is due for a regular scheduled collection this week.
“We are liaising with the property manager to see how we can help residents moving forwards, and to arrange for the provision of replacement containers. We will continue to monitor this.”