Learning Lessons In Waste Management

Sometimes, councils need to deal with unusual backlogs of waste. This was the case in Rochdale, when refuse collectors took Christmas leave. So what happened?

The refuse collectors had taken three days’ unpaid leave during the holiday, which was agreed in advance. Consequently, a collection was missed, and so in some parts of the town, extra waste accumulated. To dispose of it, the decision was made to mix general waste and recyclable materials from different bins, with everything going to landfill in one truck, reports the Manchester Evening News.

Councillor Martin Burke stood by Rochdale Council’s decision, deeming it necessary to ensure the bins were emptied as quickly as possible. He added:

“The vast majority of residents did comply with the waste collection arrangements…for which we thank them. Unfortunately, there were a small number of areas where recycling and waste bins had been put out together for collection whether they were due to be collected or not. We took the decision in these areas to empty all bins rather than be selective and leave a trail of overflowing bins and side waste behind.”

Rochdale Council has clearly learned from this, since the Manchester Evening News reports that the local authority will not be taking this course of action again. Whilst it would have been better not to mix up all the different waste in the first place, Furniture Donation Network nevertheless understands that councils have had to operate in a climate of uncertainty lately, with stretched resources. Under such circumstances, decisions may have to be made quickly and, as a result, the best course of action might not be taken. We know that the Council will have carefully considered how to balance the needs of the public with environmental sustainability for the best solution at the time.

We would urge people to continue separating their domestic waste into the bins that their local authority provides, making sure that the right things go in the right bins. Also, if you have items of furniture that will not fit in the general waste bin, don’t leave them out by your bins because the refuse collectors will not be able to take them.

This can cause problems for people who need to dispose of large items of furniture, for example, a chair or table that is taking up too much space in the home. If going on eBay or Freecycle seems like too much hassle, with the need to check bids and arrange collections, and a trip to the local tip is impossible because you don’t have access to a van, there is a charitable alternative: Furniture Donation Network.

It is simple and straightforward to use Furniture Donation Network. Book a collection using the online form, and someone will come out to collect the furniture from inside your home; no need to leave it out in the street or clutter up your driveway! You can arrange for a single item or several pieces to be picked up, provided the furniture is in excellent or very good condition, having only a few minor imperfections. Just specify on the form, when you arrange the collection, what needs to be picked up. If your items are a bit more well-loved, there’s always Bulky Waste as an equally ethical alternative.

Once the furniture has been taken away, it will be given to a charity that can make good use of it, either donating it to someone in need or selling it on through its shop to raise money. People benefit, and the charity secures extra funds to keep its work going. Another positive effect is that, since Furniture Donation Network is a Community Dotcom scheme run by the Recycling Lives social business, people supported by its social welfare charity also benefit. They have been homeless and unemployed, and are now developing their skills and confidence and rebuilding their lives with work, education and training.