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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Has anyone been having any issues with people going through their bins? We're on Roseberry Gardens and have twice asked people (one man, one woman) to stop rifling through our bins.

Today someone has come and removed our bin bags from the wheelie bins and torn them open.


Tags for Forum Posts: theft from dustbins

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Very bad and pure laziness, thoughtlessness on the part of these people. They should be fined for not recycling or something… .

On positive side, I have seen bin inspectors coming down street on bin day, post-collection, with clipboards, and they look at the bins that have been unemptied because they are in such a state or wrong things in bins. But they just put a very small sticker on the bin to warn the householder and make a note of the address. A much bigger sticker and threat of fine might work.

At least they (I presume Veola and council) are trying to do something though not sure what the effect is. Maybe it's not tough enough.

Fines probably wouldn't work- there are fines for dropping litter on streets, fly tipping and using mobile phones while driving but these all go on regularly as we know. 

Not so hard to catch these perps though?

Problem with fines - I'd have to share them! This is from the upstairs flat. 

The people who go through the bins must be short of cash.
This issue seems to vex a large number of people.
Perhaps it might be worth paying one of these poor desperate souls to turn gamekeeper and patrol the area and see off these dastardly thieves.
I'm sure a residents committee could raise the required funds?

Wouldn't it be possible to employ these unfortunate, presumably unemployed people on a basic salary - perhaps as a private enterprise - to remove ALL rubbish once or twice a week, allowing them to keep anything they need ?  Or would that cause a revolution among those that are gainfully employed to do the job but don't actually want to do it?

The situation is truly the stuff of Alice in Wonderland.  It is appalling that dustbins are emptied only once a fortnight.  Here in Hong Kong we have a system similar to Japan's, as described by Liz.  Household rubbish is removed daily to a central collection point and scavengers, of whom there are plenty, can go about their business without the need to enter private premises.  It's not without its imperfections but anything is better than being surrounded by your own rubbish for two weeks.  

I agree with Kieran that if I were a member of residents committee, I'd be pleased to set the ball rolling.  Of course they would need transport but that shouldn't prove impossible, should it?

We do get our recycling collected once weekly and given the fact that a lot of stuff can be recycled then we are not exactly surrounded by our own rubbish for two weeks. 

Doubt that the rubbish rummagers would want to be employed. That would involve becoming part of the system, paying NI and tax etc. Some might want to work for Veola but probably most wouldnt.

Back in March, Geraldine, you explained that you live in Hong Kong "where nothing is wasted or thrown away". And that  the system is for you to take your waste from your home (a sixth floor flat) to a "rubbish collection point opposite [your] home" where "impoverished people, usually old ladies, rummage through discarded items as a matter of course."

You also suggested that "the scavengers need to be educated not to rip bags open and leave the rubbish exposed ... "

So I'd be very interested to know how many flats where you live are served by each rubbish collection point and roughly how many people does this include?  How far away on average are the collection points from the flats they serve? What happens when elderly or disabled people can't physically take waste to a collection point? Are children given the job of taking waste to the collection points?

Do you know what happens to the non-recycled waste left after the "scavengers" have been and gone. Is it incinerated, for example?

What controls are in place to prevent either local flat dwellers or people from outside leaving hazardous waste in the collection points? (For example: asbestos; or clinical waste.)  When you left a tatty electric fan which was recycled, I'm sure you knew it was safe and not a fire risk. But would everyone else?

You mentioned a residents' committee.  Are you a member of a residents' committee in your own block of flats?  If so, how does that work and what in practice does it control?

A few photos would be fascinating.

Alan, thank you for this interesting and challenging response.  The fan incident took place a few years ago.  You are quite right to point out that today such an item would be regarded as hazardous waste.  As a society then, we were perhaps not as savvy as we have become - and I include myself in that comment.  Rightly or wrongly, responsibility for safety was assumed by the collector.  Now, in the village where I live, our local cleaning contractor provides a service for collection of such items for a fee.  What they do with them, no one knows, but it's fair to suppose that those fit for reuse are repaired and sold or given away.  Your point on control of discarding of hazardous waste is a good one.  We are catching up on that slowly.  There are patrols by government officers, although they can't be at every street corner and catch every offender.

I would say that each district in HK - and a district could include many thousands of residents in many hundreds of high-rise blocks - has its own rubbish collection point consisting a single-storey building housing a number of skips.  Household waste from individual flats is collected by cleaners employed by the management of the block and taken by government lorry to the collection point, where they await transfer to one of the landfills.  We have separate collections for recyclables and also for food waste.  No one has to take their own rubbish to the collection point so it's a good system for old ladies like me!

On mature reflection, it would have been more honest to say that 'less is wasted or thrown away' rather than 'nothing is wasted or thrown away'.  Society here has prospered and items that were once discarded on a local tip, and picked up by man-in-the-street for reuse, now end up in landfills.  We have a huge landfill problem that is leading the government: 1) to introduce a waste-charging system; and 2) to build new incinerators to replace the ones it closed down years ago for environmental reasons.

Our area is divided into several 'villages'.  We have a Village Owners' Committee (VOC), to which all owners belong, and a City Owners' Committee (COC) consisting of elected representatives from each VOC.  It works reasonably well and keeps an eye on the way City Management is working.

Lastly, you might be interested in this link, which probably explains the territory-wide system better than I myself could.  Thanks for your patience in reading this tome.  I'll try to hunt out a photo or two later.




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