Our recycling has just been collected! That would be good news if it weren’t Day 6 since our actual collection date, if my husband hadn’t just come in from sweeping up a trail of broken glass, and if this tale of woe didn’t happen EVERY TWO WEEKS.
The problem affects a section of Valley Park that comprises Vidler Square and the apartment building in Griffin Court – 38 households in all according to the very nice Rother customer service person I spoke to yesterday. They are always extremely sympathetic and promise that collection is imminent, but are clearly either powerless or uncaring since the situation is getting steadily worse. Contact Councillors Lord Ampthill and Gennette Stevens, we’re told – which is no doubt an ideal way of getting nothing done fast.
The issue, it appears, is that the recycling lorry starts at the top of the Valley Park hill and is full by the time it reaches Vidler Square. The crew actually drive it just to the edge of Vidler Square and then reverse, as if making a point. The problem is, they never come back. You might see them on other stretches of the Thursday route later in the day, but finishing the job they’re paid to do appears to be beyond them when it comes to Valley Park.
So we report the missed bins online, and our recycling remains outside our properties. Given that a fortnightly collection doesn’t appear to be enough for many families, they’re often overflowing, so a windy day results in rubbish blowing around while rain brings the spectacle of sodden cardboard. We’re a tidy neighbourhood of responsible householders, on the whole, so the damage is limited as we struggle to keep our streets looking clean, but when you have to wait and wait for a service which you’ve paid dearly for there’s only so much you can do.
Sometimes the collection eventually happens on a Saturday morning, and sometimes it doesn’t. We never know. Naturally we’ve begun calling Rother’s customer service more often than they would probably like, and sometimes their phone system doesn’t even allow us to talk to a human. They’d really like us to use the online system – but that, too, has been altered so that you can’t complain after 5pm, which is when most homeowners get home after a long day only to be faced with yet another recycling battle.
And today, broken glass. A small pile of it pretty much in front of every house on Vidler Square, as if dropped there on purpose. The street cleaning lorry came around 45 minutes later, no doubt in response to the barrage of calls from householders, but by that time they had nothing to do since everyone still at home had rushed out to sweep up the hazard to the children who play on our largely traffic-free streets, often barefoot, and the many dog owners who walk by with their pets on the way to the park.
The household rubbish collection is, so far, up to standard. But recycling is more than a total disaster – we’re beginning to feel we’re being deliberately targeted for bad service. Can anyone explain?