Talking Rubbish

Post date 9 September 2016

It was a packed house at Baggator on Wednesday evening, with every seat taken. Over 40 residents joined their local councillors, representatives from Bristol City Council and other agencies, for the Neighbourhood Forum. Everyone was keen to hear from Bristol Waste Company about plans to tackle the problems of flytipping in our neighbourhood.

After a welcome from resident chair Cristina Crossingham, Matt from Up Our Street gave a brief update on our current projects. Steve Woods from TidyBS5 then moved us on to the main theme of the meeting, giving us a potted history of the resident campaign group, focussing on some campaign highlights and finishing with a short film. Steve stressed that TidyBS5 is always keen to welcome new volunteers, and urged residents to keep reporting flytipping to Bristol City Council as it does really make a difference.

But the main event for many residents, was when Tracy Morgan, Chief Exec of Bristol Waste Company, took to the floor. Tracy gave a brief presentation about the company, explaining that Bristol Waste had been awarded the contract for waste and recycling collection in August 2015. Their mission is “to create a cleaner, greener Bristol.” They currently have responsibility for domestic collections and street cleansing, but aim to launch a commercial waste collection in 2017. As recently announced in the local media, the company now has a ten year contract with Bristol City Council. Bristol Waste employs 450 staff, and collects 140,000 tonnes of waste and recycling each year, of which 53,000 tonnes is sent for recycling or composting. Tracy was also keen to reassure the meeting that recent social media reports that recyclable waste was being dumped in landfill were untrue, and that materials were definitely being recycled.

Tracy then spoke about the proposed 12 week pilot scheme to deal with flytipping on Stapleton Road. The scheme will see communal bins removed from three sections of Stapleton Road (map of pilot area in Up Our Street magazine). The aim is to reduce opportunities for traders to abuse domestic waste collection services. Residents will be given specific rubbish bags, with collections on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, to be put out at a particular time and picked up promptly by Bristol Waste. There will also be a cardboard collection at the same time. Bristol Waste is collecting baseline data about flytipping currently and will measure again at the end of the pilot. They are also in talks with commercial waste companies and are looking into CCTV to identify flytipping offenders.

After the presentation it was time for questions from the audience, and many residents were keen to have their say. Some residents were unhappy with the proposed pilot: “Some streets in your pilot area are happy with communal bins and they work properly. I’m upset that the bins are being removed from Claremont Street and Seymour Road.” Bristol Waste replied “We recognise that we’re not going to please everyone. We are happy to hear views, you can help tweak the project, but we need to try something different. Bristol Waste wants to be responsive to the community.”

Other residents were in favour “I have friends on Villiers Road who want the communal bins removed, they fill up as soon as they are emptied. Rats are attracted to the bins. It seems to be commercial people doing the fly tipping.” Tom Ward from Enforcement at Bristol City Council said “We have had a number of successes in enforcing fly tipping on Villiers Road, but it’s sometimes hard to evidence business abuse of the bins.”

A resident from Battersea Road said “My biggest bug bear is litter on streets, it’s worse after street collections.” Bristol Waste acknowledged that was an issue they needed to improve: “We are talking to our guys about the street scene after collection, this is definitely on our radar.” Shani, a Newtown resident said she’d lived in the area a long time and had never seen Stapleton Road in such a bad state, “There are six butcher shops, so many junk food outlets on the street, why so many?”. Local councillors suggested there may be ways to use planning legislation to restrict these types of business.

Other subjects covered included the Household Recycling Centre in St Philips (aka The Tip), bins on the Railway Path which oddly come under the responsibility of the Parks department, how we educate our children about waste and changing the culture. It was great to see the passion of so many local residents, who obviously care deeply about where they live. Bristol Waste will be putting their proposal to the Neighbourhood Partnership in October. Up Our Street will keep you up to date about this pilot project, so watch this space…

Find out more about Bristol Waste Company