Snubbed flat residents in Tonbridge will finally get a recycling service

The 2,500 people living in flats in Tonbridge and Malling denied a recycling service have been promised they will be included this year.

Waste contractor Urbaser took on the contract in 2019, but flat dwellers have had to take their recycling to public banks while the rest of the borough’s residents have had kerbside collections.

Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council has this week promised householders will be able to sort their plastic, glass, metal and paper for collection from communal bin stores.

Read more:He’s now in charge of sorting out the bin collection service in Tunbridge Wells

The council has unveiled the roll-out schedule for this year

  • Hadlow, East Peckham and parts of Tonbridge – spring 2022
  • Snodland, Borough Green, Walderslade – spring 2022
  • Royal British Legion Village, Ditton, Eccles – summer 2022
  • West Malling, East Malling, Kings Hill – autumn 2022
  • Larkfield, Aylesford – autumn 2022

A trial of servicing the flats was carried out for 500 flats in the Medway Wharf Road area of Tonbridge.

The three months’ pilot ended in December last year. During that time more than 10 tonnes of material for recycling was collected.

Lessons learned from the trial included communicating with residents was “vital”, according to a council report.

The report also stated communal bins and stores gave very little control as to “who puts what materials in which bin”.

The officer report presented to the council’s environment services advisory board on Tuesday (February 8) stated: “I am sure some members may wish to see the roll out completed on a quicker timescale than outlined above, in order to meet the wishes of residents.

“Whilst this is fully understood, it should be noted that the proposed timescale is already significantly shorter than the pilot scheme and a further accelerated programme would, in officers’ view, run the real risk of the service not being delivered to a required standard which would lead to complaints, further reputational damage to the council and a long-term failure of increasing recycling rates from flats.”

To cover the 2,500 flats, a further 222 communal bin stores would be needed.

If the service to the flats was rolled out to the same timescale as the pilot to 500 flats, it would have taken 21 months, the report stated.

“This timescale would clearly be unacceptable to these residents, given that they have already waited so long for the service to be provided.

“To reflect this a proposed project timetable with a shorter timescale has been developed for each phase. Whilst this may not give as much resilience as with the pilot phase, it is felt to be realistic,” said the report.

Piers Montague, cabinet member for waste and recycling, said: “Challenges posed by the pandemic and recent driver shortages have meant that residents in flats have waited longer than we’d have liked for this service to be expanded to reach them.

“I’m delighted we are finally in a position to go ahead with the full implementation and make it easier for them to recycle their rubbish.

“I’d like to thank the council team and residents who have made the pilot such a success and to everyone who is contributing to our record recycling rates.’”

Article Source: Kent Live