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Initial problems as Torbay residents get used to TOR2 recycling collections

The partnership between Torbay Council and May Gurney to deliver a new waste and recycling collection service to 60,000 households launched on 6 September with some initial teething problems.

Torbay Council is said to have received around 6,000 calls from residents drawing attention to problems with TOR2, the official name for the new joint venture between the council and May Gurney.

Residents’ concerns were various and included problems with:

·         Uncollected rubbish

·         The length of time it is taking the collection teams to sort the separated rubbish

·         Traffic delays caused by the new lorries

·         Maggots in food waste bins

·         Problems with assisted collections

The overhauled recycling service was designed to enable residents to recycle a wider range of materials, with the hope of achieving recycling rates above 50% by 2012.

May Gurney managing director of environmental services Nicola Peake insisted that such teething problems are inevitable when introducing such major changes to the service.

She said: “There may be some short term upheaval but you need to look at the long term gains of introducing something like this.”

Residents were issued with new recycling boxes and wheeled bins as part of the new service. One recycling box was for paper, plastic bottles, food tins, drinks cans, aerosols, mixed textiles and shoes while the second box was for foil, mixed glass and cardboard. A separate smaller bin was provided to take food waste.

The new service sees all recyclables collected on a weekly basis with residual waste collections moving to once a fortnight.  

Peake explained that May Gurney introduced a similar system in Bridgend, South Wales just two and a half months ago and the results so far have been “outstanding, demonstrating the need for such big changes to be made to dramatically increase recycling rates”.

She said: “There has been a 56% reduction in residual waste arisings and a 20% reduction in overall waste in the system. These are the sort of results we would expect to see in Torbay once the system is up and running properly.

“You have got to bear in mind that this is a huge step change in the way people in Torbay recycle and it only got underway on Monday so there are bound to be initial problems as people get used to the new service. It is important people get the message that these changes will benefit them in the long run by saving council tax payers money.”

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