Alternate Weekly Collections is bureaucratspeak for collecting refuse to recycle one week and everything else the next week. Quite a few Councils have gone over to this, but now a parliamentary committee has come to the conclusion that this might not be such a good idea after all. On Basildon Council I am proud to say that we have never had a serious conversation about going over to collecting the rubbish every other week. For us the reasons not to do it were so obvious that it didn’t seem worth wasting any time over, but clearly not everyone shared our view. How elected members elsewhere got past the fact that people having to store rotting food waste for two weeks could not but make for smells and files, never mind rats and other vermin, is a bit of a mystery. That ordinary people wouldn’t like it was also pretty obvious, and several Council administrations that went down this road abruptly found themselves with more free time after the local elections in May. I heard one moron trying to defend his Council’s policy on the radio by saying that ‘Cambridgeshire was running out of holes in the ground’ for landfill. I was somewhat surprised as I had not imagined Cambridgeshire as one enormous rubbish tip, and his argument also misses the point. The issue is not recycling, which pretty much everyone reckons is a good thing, but Councils trying to save money on recycling by cutting the rest of the refuse collection service. Politicians do their people a disservice when they try and mislead, not that many people have been fooled this time.
It’s not difficult, weekly rubbish collection is both right and popular. That’s usually a winning combination.