Two wheelie bins or not to wheelie bin

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Dispersal Order issued for Acton Park

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This week, Ealing Council announced the launch of one of its biggest ever consultations on rubbish and recycling. Over the next two months the Council will be asking local people to help to decide the future of refuse and recycling services in the borough.

One thing is for certain. There will be heated and passionate debate on this issue. We tested the water via the Forum where there have already been 46 posts by people with strong views and questions. There were four votes in favour of wheelie bins and six against. Acton's rubbish tsar Angela Jullings admitted that she was undecided. One of the pro-wheelie bin voters admitted that he did not have room on his property for a wheelie.

Local Councillor Vlod Barchuk says he is keeping a close eye on the debate in the W3 Forum but is "keeping his cards close to his chest" as far as a yes or no vote is concerned.

This website will do its best to present views and information during the course of the consultation.

The consultation kicks off shortly when a special supplement 'how to bin it' drops through people's doors. The supplement, inside the council's magazine, Around Ealing, includes a special freepost survey which people are urged to return by Wednesday 3 January 2007.

People who would rather fill in the survey online can do so by visiting and clicking the link on the home page. To encourage as many people as possible to take part the council is running a prize draw with £500 of prizes to won by residents who return their forms.

Council Leader, Jason Stacey, will visit locations across the borough with his 'bins on tour' roadshow so that he can talk to people about the four possible options being considered. They include:

Option A - Keep the present service - black sacks and current recycling bins with a weekly refuse collection.

Option B - One wheelie bin - replace black sacks with a wheelie bin for household rubbish and canvas garden sack for garden waste. Other recycling services remain the same. Weekly refuse collection.

Option C - Two wheelie bins - one for household rubbish, the other for garden, cardboard and food waste. People would continue to use their recycling green box. Weekly refuse collection.

Option D - Two wheelie bins - one for household rubbish, one for garden waste. People would also use food and green box recycling. Fortnightly refuse collection.

In the supplement, the four options are given showing both running and set up costs, impact on recycling and the pros and cons of each.  The Council say they will make clear the advantages and disadvantages of wheelie bins versus black sacks. Each option will contain information on its recycling rate so that people can choose the greenest option if that is what is important to them.

In addition people will be asked if they would like the council to introduce plastics to the green box household recycling service.

Councillor Stacey, said: "Talking to residents it is clear that the vast majority of us believe the way we store and collect our rubbish needs to be improved. This is an important consultation and the results will decide how rubbish is collected in the borough. I appreciate that this issue is very emotive and know that residents will have strong opinions on it. I'm asking every home in the borough to take part in the consultation by filling in the survey and returning so that we can make a decision based on as many views as possible."

Homes that can't use wheelie bins have not being forgotten and are being asked to take part in the consultation so that the council can improve the refuse and recycling services they get. Among the ideas being considered are free bin bags if options B-D are chosen and the possibility of more communal bins for people living in flats above shops.

I asked Moira Mercer from the Council's Press Office whether information from other boroughs, where wheelie bins have already been introduced, will be available and she told me that "we don't go into detail about specific boroughs who have wheelie bins but talk around the issue raised by their introduction.

"If wheelie bins were the preferred option there would be further consultation on how they would be introduced and how they could be identified with a particular property." Moira also told me that "if one half of the borough told us it wanted one service and the other another then clearly it may be possible". People who live in flats "may be able to share a communal bin and this would be considered."

The consultation will also involve further research with a randomly selected sample of residents from each ward in the borough.

There will be a Bins on Tour Roadshow in Acton on Friday November 24

• 12.45–2.45pm – Morrisons, King Street

Wheelie bins will also be on display at your local library and Gurnell and Northolt Swimarama Leisure Centres.

November 2, 2006