By Will Date
Services company Enterprise has apologised to residents in the London borough of Ealing after ‘teething problems’ saw bins go uncollected when the company took over the service.
Enterprise took over from Ealing councils previous waste and recycling collection contractor May Gurney on April 1 2012, after signing a 15-year 300 million contract which includes waste collection and street sweeping with the local authority (see letsrecycle.com story).
Under the terms of the deal, Enterprise operates a kerbside sort system, collecting residual waste, dry recycling and food waste weekly from the kerbside via separate collection vehicles. Collections of garden waste are also available fortnightly, but residents are required to pay for the service if they wish to opt in.
According to the council, Enterprise experienced problems in the first two weeks of the contract, as crews got used to the new rounds, causing a build up in waste that had not been collected.
Residents were also concerned that material such as paper and card for which separate containers had been provided were being mixed together and collected in the same vehicle as the contractor attempted to work through the collection backlog by using less vehicles and collecting material together.
The council has confirmed that as a temporary measure, these items were then sent to a materials recycling facility (MRF) where they were sorted into different categories before being recycled. The council is urging residents to continue to sort items into their usual recycling containers.
“The service was not delivered to an acceptable standard and we are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused”
As a result of the problems, Enterprise called in additional crews and vehicles last weekend (April 14-15) to collect waste and recycling after collections had been missed over the preceding two weeks.
A spokesman for Enterprise said: Enterprise would like to apologise to Ealing residents after some refuse and recycling collections were delayed during the handover of the service. The service was not delivered to an acceptable standard and we are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused. Extra crews are working evenings and weekends to clear the backlog and we will continue to work closely with the council to return the service to an acceptable level as quickly as possible.
Ealing council has now confirmed that as a result of the additional crews organised by Enterprise the service has returned to normal, and residents can expect their waste to be collected on the scheduled day.
Keith Townsend, executive director of environment and customer services at Ealing council, said: I would like to apologise to residents who didnt get their refuse and recycling service last week and thank people for their patience.
The problems experienced last week are totally unacceptable and we are working with Enterprise to make sure the service gets back to normal as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, there seems to have been a variety of factors that contributed to the problems last week including crews getting used to new rounds and vehicles which made collections slower and meant some roads were missed.
Enterprise is taking action to address them including bringing in extra staff and supervisors to help during this transition period.