RUBBISH has been left uncollected in several parts of Cardiff as changes to bin collection days are causing confusion.
Garden waste was uncollected in Penylan, bags of used nappies were left on the pavement in Pontcanna, and recycling bags were piling up outside blocks of flats in Llanedeyrn.
A month ago, the Cardiff council switched bin days for thousands of homes across the city, as refuse workers switched to a four-day working week. The changes were supposed to mean rubbish collected sooner, leaving it out on the pavement for less time.
While the changes have been a success in some parts of Cardiff, others have been left with their rubbish uncollected for weeks. Some residents are complaining they are “getting absolutely nowhere with the council waste department” when reporting missed collections.
Cathty MacGillivray, who lives in Awel Mor, Llanedeyrn, said:
“We have had no recycling collection for the past four weeks. There are piles of recycling.
“We only have two large [communal] recycling bins as it is, which isn’t enough for the amount of recycling for these properties for one week, let alone four.
“It’s a complete eyesore, and it makes me ashamed to live here. I feel bad whenever I order a food delivery as it looks as though they are coming to a slum area. I’m just grateful that we can’t mix at the moment, as I would hate for friends and family to see these conditions.”
The changes to bin collection days were brought in at the end of February. Binmen are now working longer shifts over four days of the week, from Tuesday to Friday. The switch should also allow mechanics to better maintain the rubbish lorries.
Councillor Michael Michael, the cabinet member for clean streets and recycling, said initial problems with the rollout were expected but should be “long gone by summer”.
The previous system was in place for 30 years, he said. The new system includes using digital technology to monitor the progress of crews as they collect waste around the city, and quickly highlight any missed collections.
But opposition councillors have raised concerns that binmen are still missing collections in some parts of the city, particularly communal bins in blocks of flats. The issue was debated in a meeting of the full council on Thursday, March 18.
Propel Cllr Keith Parry said: “Regular failings in collection of communal bins in blocks of flats are causing a lot of annoyance to residents. The situation has not improved since the four-day week was introduced.”
Liberal Democrat Cllr Joe Carter said:
“It’s clear to all of us that the rollout of the new four-day collection has been a complete disaster. Over the last three weeks, about a fifth of Llanedeyrn and Pentwyn has been missed every time.
“Most but not all areas got collected eventually. But in some cases, it took over a week to get the waste removed. Rising temperatures and overflowing bins is an awful combination at this time of year.”
While problems with the new system were expected, the service will continue to improve, Cllr Michael said. adding:
“What we’re asking for is to have a change in a thirty-year regime, that I thought could be improved. We knew there were going to be problems and we put contingencies in place.
“We will carry on to improve the service week in, week out. That’s exactly what’s happening. The new system is improving all the time.
“The service is able to track every vehicle, see the completion of work as crews work through the day, and a new control room at Lamby Way will allow officers to manage this moving forward proactively, thereby improving residents’ satisfaction with the service.
“If anybody tells you to change a system that has been embedded for 30 years, going from two shifts to one, all assimilated into a four-day week and do it all in a month without any problems — then I’m sorry, but that person doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
“The system is working, it’s improving on a daily basis. I’m pretty sure that by summer it will be sorted and long gone by then.”
But in the meantime, some residents are still suffering from rubbish piling up outside their homes.
Ms MacGillivray responded:
“The time has come now for us to have individual letters with a full apology and explanation of what has gone wrong, and a guarantee this will not recur. We are being fobbed off and nobody is accepting responsibility.”
A spokesman for Cardiff council commented:
“Like any new system when it is introduced there will always be some time required for it to bed in and we would like to thank residents for their patience.
“We are closely monitoring any missed collections as we deliver this new service, with staff on-street to assist residents in a Covid-safe manner.
“We would like to remind residents that waste has to be presented on the kerbside, no earlier than 4.30 pm on the evening of the collection, or by 6 am on the morning of their collection.”