We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Bin a Long Time Coming... [Updated]

Recycling and Residual / General Waste Wheely binsNever give up.

A local resident was in touch with me in March after trying, and failing, to get a replacement "residual waste" (non-recycling) bin from Folkestone & Hythe District Council after it was broken in the course of its regular collection.

That seemed wrong to me, so I took it up with the Council too. I asked, begged, argued... and lost.

I was pointed to the policy and told it didn't cover residual waste bins. I asked for them to change the policy, and that it was unfair, but was told that although they may look at in future, I essentially couldn't get a new bin for the resident now.

Updated detail: the email from the Service Lead Andrew Rush on 11th March 2020 read:

"Dear Cllr Prater,

"The bin replacements charges are set as part of the annual fees and charges process. I have attached the policy guidelines set in 2017. Andy Blaszkowicz has also contacted me to see if there is any flexibility under the guidelines that could be applied. I am sorry but having checked again I think the position is clear that charges should be applied.

"The relevant part is -

"Replacement of Containers

"1. The Council will charge for the replacement of all containers, other than recycling containers lost or damaged in the circumstances described in 7. Charges will be in accordance with the fees and charges schedule.

"2. Recycling containers of the size 240 litre, 55 litre or 23 litre, which are in the ownership of the Council and are designed to be placed at the kerbside, as part of the recycling collection service and which can be shown to be either damaged or lost as a result of collection operations will be replaced by the Council at no charge to the occupier.

"The only flexibility is under 11 which would require the portfolio holder's decision to waive charges in limited circumstances."

He supplied a copy of the policy / protocol document, last updated in May 2017.

Some you lose.

Then last week, during a "Leaders Q&A" session on Zoom, Council Leader David Monk said the policy had changed. First I'd heard if it. And although I kept listening to other questions, even while he was still talking, I was sending an email to an officer...

Updated detail: In response to my request for a copy of the revised policy, the same Andrew Rush says on 19th June 2020:

"Please see attached for the policy. It is largely unchanged other than the inclusion of 180L residual bins to the ones we will replace if lost or damaged on the collection day."

This is the 2020 policy / protocol document he sent that day. IWhen sent to me it was called "Revised Bin Protocol - May 2020 Final.docx". Guess when it was changed!

The timeline on this change of policy was as follows (confirmed to me today by the officer):

  • 16 April 2019 Bin replacement charges reviewed by Overview and Scrutiny. Motion passed requesting that bin charging is reviewed.
  • Oct / Nov 2019 Bin replacement review completed to coincide with annual budget setting. Additional budget proposed to allow for the replacement of residual refuse bins lost or damaged as the result of the collection operation to start from financial year 20/21. Proposal agreed by Cabinet in the Budget Strategy Report 13 Nov 2019.
  • April 2020 New budget year starts. Fees & Charges (Replacement Bin) guidance updated (May) to allow for the replacement of residual bins lost or damaged as the result of the collection operation.
 And I've now had it confirmed that in the next few days, the resident who contacted me in March will get a replacement residual waste Wheely bin to replace the one broken in collection. He's quite chuffed. And so am I: the policy now makes sense.

Some you win.

So, please don't hurt your wheely bins. Look after them, and they'll look after you (well, they'll hold your rubbish, which is very close to the same thing). But from now, if your Folkestone & Hythe District Council bin - recycling or general waste - is damaged in the course of its regular collection and emptying, please do take some photos, note when it happened, and how it got broken. And then when you report it, it should be replaced. Free of charge. As it should be. Small wins. But important.

The relevent clause in the new policy Is point 7, which now says:

"Containers of the size 240 litre, 180 litre, 55 litre or 23 litre, which were supplied by the Council and are designed to be placed at the kerbside, as part of the recycling and waste collection service and which can be shown to be either damaged or lost as a result of collection operations will be replaced by the Council at no charge to the occupier."

Well done to FHDC for listening, and changing the policy for the better. It's not an earthshaking change. But it's a just one.