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A couple of months ago, our council recycling service, which had started out seeming terribly prompt and efficient - stopped.    The black binbags were still collected, but nobody collected the brightly colour-coded bags of paper, tins, cardboard etc. 

I rang the council, who promised a two-day 'emergency pickup' which duly came and took the recycling away.  And then, silence descended.  No longer was the cheery glass-jingling, tin-can-clashing sound of the recycling lorry heard in our lane. 

I rang the council again.  Several times.  I was enormously polite - indeed, some would say, cheery -  but at the same time, pressing. 

Each time, I was promised someone would be there pronto to take stuff away.  But no-one came.   My neighbour rang the council too.  He was also promised that normal service would resume.  And yet, there was a quite noticeable absence of recycling lorries. 

This week was the seventh week without a recycling pickup.  Now, we lived for years and years without any recycling collections at all, and merely collected our stuff and took it to the nearest recycling depot ourselves, so this should not seem like a problem, but because I had been TOLD there would be people coming to take the stuff away so many times, it somehow seemed like we were missing out.  Many choruses of 'The Garbageman can' were ironically sung. 

Plus, every time I was promised that someone would come to collect the stuff, I would sigh with relief and pile yet more paper card etc outside the house.  Where it would sit, and duly be rained upon,and in due course become the residence of snails. 

This week, I decided the time had come to Make a Fuss.   So,  I rang the council yet again.  And I emailled the council customer service desk.  And I emailled the local elected councillors (Oh the shame, I am sure my father was twirling in his grave: never get policians involved in anything he would say).  And I tweeted the council  (had done this before, but to my amazement, this time I got a reply).  And, finally I tweeted the local press. 

And today, oh frabjous day!  The jolly jingling of the recycling van has returned to our lane!    And to my amazement, I also got an apologetic phonecall from Cory Environmental, the people who have the contract to do all the recycling collections for Cornwall.  Apparently our lane had somehow fallen out of their scheduling system.  

The chap who phoned me, who - I am absolutely certain - has a round red face and a bristling moustache, he just sounded that way - claims adamantly that the first he had heard of the problem was this morning.  Which really makes me wonder where all the 'um, our recycling is STILL HERE' phonecalls made by me and the neighbours ended up... 

So there we go.  The moral of this story appears to be, if your emails are ignored, then Twitter is the way to go?  This just seems wrong!  But at least it worked. 


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
13th Jul, 2012 15:49 (UTC)
Yay! Go you! I've heard you being enormously polite on the phone on Oldies business. We were all suitably awed. :-P

I like the idea of an emergency recycling pickup. I'm trying to envisage situations in which the collection of old newspapers and bottles could make the difference between life and death. "Do you want fire, police or ambulance, sir?" "None of them! My emergency is far worse than that! I need the emergency recycling collectors!" I do hope they come abseiling down from helicopters while dressed in black.
13th Jul, 2012 22:08 (UTC)
This puts me in mind of a variant of the Bicycle Repairman sketch in Monty Python!

14th Jul, 2012 21:51 (UTC)
For some reason people are often surprised by my enormously polite act. Surprised, and a little terrified.

I have no idea why this is.
13th Jul, 2012 20:20 (UTC)
It does sound as if the council's 'customer services' go no further than answering the phone & saying 'All will be well'.

Now that your lane has been fitted back into Cory Environmental's schedule, probably somebody else's lane will have fallen out...
14th Jul, 2012 21:55 (UTC)
I'm absolutely certain someone else's lane has fallen out. I wonder how long it will take them to stuff themselves back into the schedule.

I am interested that it was clear from the council / Cory response that my complaining had been far more impactful than the complaining of my neighbour, and nobody else seemed to have registered at all. Since there were about 15 houses affected, I am a little surprised by this. I had thought of myself as probably one of the more lazy and ineffectual residents :-D
13th Jul, 2012 20:46 (UTC)
Well done!

We have a recycling collection every two weeks. I have three wheelie bins (and would have four, if I had a garden) but the first time I used them I made the mistake of putting IKEA wrappings (marked recyclable) in my glass and plastic bin... They taped it up with black and yellow tape and put a big sticker on the lid, saying they couldn't take it because it contained radioactive waste ;-)
13th Jul, 2012 22:10 (UTC)
And here was I feeling hard done by with our two weekly collection, because we have recently moved from a zone where ordinary garbage was twice weekly (it still is) and recycling was weekly. I still miss the weekly recycling collection, as it seems that you can't buy anything in America without ten tons of ridiculous packaging. By the time the two weeks has gone by, we have 4 giant trash cans full of squished down, compacted recycling.

Admittedly, we drink far too much diet, caffeine free soda and should probably stop.

14th Jul, 2012 21:58 (UTC)
Our recycling collection is every 2 weeks, and we have 3 smallish bags and a box for bottles. Cardboard in particular needs to be folded and refolded with extreme prejudice to get it all into the Official Bag. But I find I can usually get it in. I suspect that a few more collections, and the Official Bag is going to rupture, mind. And it's made of unrecyclable woven plastic :-D
14th Jul, 2012 21:55 (UTC)
!!! how dare you recycle recyclables! Stop that at once! :-D
14th Jul, 2012 20:53 (UTC)
Well done. I say good on u for emailing the counsellors, that's why they are elected - to represent u.
29th Jul, 2012 08:57 (UTC)
...somehow I read it as The Garbageman Can-Can, which lead to a very strange mental image!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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