Fury after Cornish council refuses to collect locals' rubbish bags for 'weeks' because they have the 'wrong coloured handles'

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  • Locals say waste not collected as the bags had black handles instead of white 
  • A large number of people say they haven’t received the new white-handled sacks

Angry residents in Cornwall have slammed their council for refusing to collect rubbish bags for ‘weeks’ because they have the ‘wrong coloured handle’.

People living in England’s southwestern tip have been left ‘confused’ and ‘furious’ after being told their old seagull-proof sacks with black handles will not be collected by the council anymore.

Instead, bin crews are supposedly only picking up rubbish stored in the new white-handled sacks, which the local authorities have introduced as part of a new scheme to ‘encourage everyone to reduce their waste’.

However, a large number of people say they haven’t received the new sacks, meaning they have been forced to continue using the black-handled bags for their waste.

But the local authorities are now refusing to take the former bags and are instead leaving them on the street for ‘weeks’ – forcing one resident to take her rubbish to a tip 34 miles away.

People living in England's southwestern tip have been left 'confused' and 'furious' after being told their old seagull-proof sacks with black handles will not be collected by the council anymore. Instead, bin crews are supposedly only picking up rubbish stored in the new white-handled sacks (both are next to each other)

People living in England’s southwestern tip have been left ‘confused’ and ‘furious’ after being told their old seagull-proof sacks with black handles will not be collected by the council anymore. Instead, bin crews are supposedly only picking up rubbish stored in the new white-handled sacks (both are next to each other)

Residents had been asked to place their old bags into a new standardised 180-litre grey bin or white-handled sacks (pictured) for collection

Residents had been asked to place their old bags into a new standardised 180-litre grey bin or white-handled sacks (pictured) for collection

Locals such as Nicky Roberts (pictured) have condemned Cornwall Council for wasting money and resources with their new standardised collection scheme

Locals such as Nicky Roberts (pictured) have condemned Cornwall Council for wasting money and resources with their new standardised collection scheme 

Many residents say they haven't even received the new bins or sacks so have been putting their rubbish out on collection day in everyday sacks like they used to, but they are not being collected

Many residents say they haven’t even received the new bins or sacks so have been putting their rubbish out on collection day in everyday sacks like they used to, but they are not being collected 

Many have condemned Cornwall Council for wasting money and resources – calling out the irony that this scheme is supposed to enforce recycling, when it is ‘only causing more waste’.

Cornwall bin rules 

The council says it has provided all residential properties with a new standardised 180-litre grey bin or white-handled sacks. 

The bin/sacks will be collected from the kerbside every fortnight.

All rubbish must fit into the new bin or sack to be collected.

Collection crews must be able to see clearly that only the new grey bins or white-handled sacks are being used to put out rubbish. 

No additional rubbish containers which residents may still have are being put out for collection as well 

Those with an old bin or sack are encouraged to repurpose it where possible (e.g as garden storage)

Alternatively, the council says it can collect residents’ old sacks once their new rubbish collection starts if they book it at www.cornwall.gov.uk/bindelivery. 

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But the council have argued the new ‘standardised’ service will be highly effective when it is fully operational in all parts of the county.

One resident, Julie Elworthy, 61, has described the saga as ‘an absolute nightmare’ and a ‘waste of tax payers money’.

She said: ‘It took 12 telephone calls, nine emails, a chat with the county councillor calls to Biffa and direct complaints.

‘There has been no accountability – the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing.

‘But last Wednesday was the last straw – I had to take our rubbish up to Saltash tip, 34 miles away, it was very time consuming but we couldn’t leave all the rubbish piling at the bottom of the lane.’

It was only when Julie threatened not to pay her council tax – for the first time in 42 years – that a bin was delivered to her door, the day after her warning.

She added: ‘The council were in breach of what we were paying for – by paying Council tax we have been paying for a service that they have not been delivering.’

Julie, who has lived in Millbrook village for all her life, has called out the dire environmental consequences from the council’s actions, arguing: ‘People have their own bins! It’s hardly green.

‘Where are the sacks going to go now? It’s crazy and such a waste. It is ludicrous.

‘We are all interested in saving the planet, but I feel so sorry for families who haven’t had their waste collected in weeks – there are nappies building up.

‘It’s all just more plastic going into landfill – the council are way off.

‘This “service” has been three years in the making and they still haven’t gotten it right – it’s certainly not a cost-saving exercise or an environmental one.’

Before the new system was introduced, residents unable to use a normal black bin for space reasons bought black-handled seagull-proof sacks from the council.

Due to the new standardised collection scheme, locals have been asked to place their old black-handled black sacks into the sacks with white handles to be collected and disposed of.

Due to the new standardised collection scheme, residents have been asked to place their old black-handled sacks into the sacks with white handles (pictured)

Due to the new standardised collection scheme, residents have been asked to place their old black-handled sacks into the sacks with white handles (pictured) 

Julie Elworthy, 61, has described the saga as 'an absolute nightmare' and a 'waste of tax payers money'

Julie Elworthy, 61, has described the saga as ‘an absolute nightmare’ and a ‘waste of tax payers money’

Many residents say they haven’t even received the new bins or sacks so have been putting their rubbish out on collection day in everyday sacks like they used to, which are not being collected.

Julie says they were informed of the recycling scheme change via leaflets to their door and newsletters via the parish council last November – and they should have had bins in April, but they were only delivered last week.

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Residents of Cornwall have taken to social media to express their thoughts and queries on the change – with one calling the scheme a ‘disaster’ another describing it as a ‘WASTE of taxpayers money’

Someone wrote they had lost faith in the council and are requesting a refund of their council tax.

They added: ‘We don’t get a refuse collection, or bus service, or have any kids, or need social care.

‘We very rarely see a policeman. Nor do we have any faith in Cornwall Council or our MP. Can we have a refund of our council tax please?’

Another said: ‘I have been declined multiple times for an extra bin or sack and you guys declined to take my rubbish. Which will eventually become a pile. And eventually and I hope not will attract rodents.

‘I have been pushed from pillar to post as nobody can be bothered to help me.’

Another said: ‘My current bin is 31 years old and shows no signs of breaking any time soon! What an absolute waste to stop using it and spend energy replacing it for no reason other than colour.’ 

Many residents are still having to use the black-handled seagull proof sacks - but they are not being collected by the council

Many residents are still having to use the black-handled seagull proof sacks – but they are not being collected by the council 

Responding to the criticism, Cornwall Council says the new recycling and rubbish scheme is aimed at ‘encouraging everyone to reduce their waste to increase their recycling’. 

As part of the service, the council is asking residents to limit the amount of rubbish they can dispose of to what can fit into the new bin or protective sack every fornight. 

A spokesperson for the council said: ‘In order for our collection crews to apply the new rule for limiting their rubbish they need to be able to see clearly that only the new grey bins or white-handled sacks that we have issued are being used to put out rubbish and that no additional rubbish containers which residents may still have are being put out for collection as well.

‘We’re encouraging anyone who has an existing sack to repurpose it or alternatively we can collect residents’ old sacks once their new rubbish collection starts if they book it at www.cornwall.gov.uk/bindelivery once the service opens for their area.’