Council defends no wheelie bin policy

Portsmouth City Council has had to defend an order to householders not to put rubbish in wheelie bins in case dustmen injure themselves taking it out.

The city council wrote to 120 households warning them refuse collectors will no longer take rubbish put in the bins.

Vince Venus, the council’s waste collection manager, explained the move was “to reduce any potential risk or injury to our refuse crew members”.

He said: “Large wheeled bins are not designed to be lifted or emptied by hand. It is not safe for crew members to lean over one metre into wheeled bins to retrieve bags of undetermined weight.

“Wheeled bins are designed to be emptied by a bin lift mechanism attached to a vehicle.”

This has prompted uproar among some residents concerned animals will raid bin bags left on the street for collection resulting in litter and unpleasant smells.

Mr Venus pointed out the council does not allow waste to be store on public highways until after 7pm on the evening before collection.

“We run a weekly refuse collection service,” he said. “Prior to collection, it is up to our residents to keep/store their waste safe and secure.

“To avoid cat, fox or vermin attacks, residents can store their waste in whatever receptacle they choose, provided refuse is only presented for collection in either refuse bags or dustbins up to 90 litres.”

The situation sparked questions about why the council does not have a wheelie bin collection with some accusing it of not wanting to buy new bins.

But the council rejected this explaining the collection system was designed to cope with the particular demands of the city.

It also pointed out almost a quarter (22.6%) or 108 or 477 local authorities collect waste from sacks as opposed to wheelie bins.

“Portsmouth is one of the most densely populated, urban areas in the whole of Europe,” said Mr Venus. “The layout of the city doesn’t lend itself to the storage or use of wheeled bins. The city has many narrow streets and 50 percent of properties have very small or no forecourts.”

David Gibbs

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