Gateshead Council - Please, Just Be Honest

I've given up complaining directly to the source of the problem, mainly because nobody gives a shit any more. At best, you get some standard text thrown at you that doesn't address any of the issues you've raised. At worst, no response at all.

Of course, I don't expect that to change just because I post it here, but I do think it'll make me feel better knowing it's out there in the public domain, rather than in some bureaucrats email trash folder.

So, to the subject of my first open letter of complaint - Gateshead Council and their decision to go to fortnightly bin collections. (Check out the stats on that page - 97% were happy with things the way they were [and that'd include me] - less than 47% of the tiny percentage of people who responded were happy with the new proposal, so, fek it, yeah, let's do it anyway).

Now, if they'd been honest and just popped a note through the door saying "We need to save money, so we're doing this, tough luck", I'd think fair enough. Although inconvenient, I'd appreciate the honesty. But, no, they have to dress it up. They're doing it to (and I quote) "lower our impact to the environment and improve recycling rates" (amongst other babble).

I'll take the last point first: "improve recycling rates". Our recycle bin is filled to overflowing by the end of the two weeks. You couldn't squeeze a fag paper in there without the whole thing toppling over. So no, we can't recycle any more (because you only collect once a fortnight), unless you want us to just throw it on the streets.

Now let's deal with the lowering of our impact on the environment. We're a pretty small family. There's just the three of us (well, plus the three cats, but they don't create a lot of waste unless they've had a particularly heavy weekend), and there's generally only 2 people in the home during the week. We don't create what I'd consider a lot of waste.

However, our "normal" bin is full after one week. Of course, this was fine with the weekly collections, but now, with fortnightly collections, we've basically got 1 weeks worth of rubbish filling some nook or cranny in the garage.

This necessitates a return trip to the tip (or whatever this weeks PC term is) at least once a fortnight. That's a 12 mile return trip. Now, if half the people in our street are doing the same thing, that's 120 miles per fortnight, 240 per month, no less than 2,880 miles per year. Being very generous, we'll assume we're getting an average of 50 miles per gallon from our newly converted rubbish carts, that's 57.6 gallons of fuel (plus all the associated emissions, wear and tear on the roads, congestion etc) used on getting stuff to the tip. That's for ONE STREET. On our estate alone, there must be at least 20 roads of a roughly equal number of houses. Or, in other words, 1,152 gallons of fuel. And that's just one (small) estate.

Now, I know the dump trucks probably aren't particularly fuel efficient, but I'm pretty sure one of them wouldn't use 1,152 gallons of fuel for just 26 trips along 20 roads.

Even if I'm wildly over-estimating how many of us need to make these trips, and it's only really 1 in 20, that's still 115 gallons of fuel per year, for just one estate.

So, Gateshead Council, don't pretend you're doing this to save the environment. Anyone can see that it just doesn't add up. It's pretty obvious this is a bad decision for the the environment and a bad decision based on cost. Of course, you're saving money, but everyone else pays.

Technically, they will be achieving their target to "lower our impact to the environment" - by increasing everyone else's. But, of course, all that really matters in this crazy world of ours now is targets. We won't let little things like reality get in the way too much.

Seeing as we've now got to go to the tip anyway, why not just cancel the bin collections completely and refund us the cost of refuse collection? Sack all the refuse collectors, dump trucks and associated staff, and give us all the money, which we can use to offset the cost of the trips to the tip. And think of the improvement to the environment. No dump trucks spewing out toxins, no trips to work needed by the dump truck drivers or all the bureaucrats that "manage" the refuse collections, nor, of course, all of their wages - sounds like a win/win situation to me.

Where can I sign up?