Firm says it’s sorry for rubbish chaos

THE recycling contractors in charge of North Somerset’s ‘recycling revolution’ have issued a full apology after the chaos that led to recycling waste piling up outside homes in the region.

After icy weather in December caused huge disruption to the collection service, sometimes leaving homes with rubbish outside their doors for up to six weeks, North Somerset Council’s leader described May Gurney’s handling of the collections as ‘dreadful’.

In order to clear the huge backlog, crews were forced to throw residents’ painstakingly sorted waste together into collection lorries for the compacted materials to be sorted at a later date.

At the council’s full meeting in Weston on January 18, leader Councillor Nigel Ashton said: “We are furious with the performance of the contactors and it is dreadful that the public were not kept informed.

“I totally understand that the snow affected the service but what I do not accept is the seemingly lack of a plan B or C.”

May Gurney’s operations director, Steve Longdon, said in a statement at the meeting: “Although we experienced exceptionally adverse weather in December, which prevented the safe operation of recycling collections over a few days, the length of time it took for the service to recover and its negative impact on residents has been unacceptable.

“Through their positive and committed participation coupled with the design of the service, the new recycling and collection system, which started in July last year is already delivering some impressive results – the recycling rate has increased significantly and the amount of waste ‘diverted’ from going to landfill has reduced dramatically.

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“We would like to take this opportunity to apologise to the residents of North Somerset and to thank them for the patience and tolerance. We would also like to reassure them that we will learn from this experience and will continue to develop our contingency planning to provide a more robust approach in future.”

The huge backlog of goods led to May Gurney’s contractors throwing all types of ‘dry’ recycling waste which had been sorted within green boxes by residents into the collection lorries, where it was compacted.

The waste was then bundled and taken to a materials recycling facility in Milton Keynes, where the separate materials were sorted mechanically.