Sunday, 19 May 2013
I think I want one of these.
I'm not passionate about it, but I do my best with recycling, and now most of the town population has one I'd quite like one too. It would save a few clanking trips to the bottle bank
All the houses around here have one, except for our little bit of the area, the bit where the road bends and goes under the bridge. I think we got missed off the map.
Some of my close neighbours have one, but they had to ring up and make a bit of a fuss and wait for quite a while.
So the other morning, feeling full of recycling zeal and with not too much else to do I thought I'd have a go and also ask on behalf my next-door neighbour to save an extra phone call.
It's not straight-forward, trying to be green.
I have to be assessed.
I asked if the assessment involved making a phone call and a request, but I was told no, it depends on my personal circumstances.
At this point I became more interested.
What personal circumstances?
I would have to be assessed to see if the special new van could access my road.
'It's already accessing my road', I said, 'Some of my neighbours have wheelie bins.'
But I still have to be assessed. My house and my circumstances have to be assessed, and then a decision will be made about whether I get a bin or stay as a bag.
'I have a flat drive area with space for a bin,' I said.
Not good enough.
Further assessment is needed.
I capitulated. Fair enough.
'Could you assess my next-door neighbours at the same time?' I said. 'They want a bin too.'
This is impossible. They must make separate application. There may be confidentiality issues at stake here.
So I'm waiting to be assessed. Should I bake a cake, wear my best clothes, tidy up the front garden? What needs do I have, and how can a wheelie bin be judged to meet them?
In the meantime, in this tense hiatus, I hear nerve-wracking stories. Wheelie bins are micro-chipped and are able to record the quality and quantity of their contents. Should I remove the labels from the cheap wine bottles, or does cheaper wine indicate greater need?
I hear tales of people falling over, under and even into wheelie bins, of wheelie bins being out of control on sloping driveways, of them causing damage to parked vehicles and garden furniture.
It's all so much more complex than I realised.
Maybe I'll fail the assessment and stay as a bag.
Update - June 1st.
I feel sure I'm getting closer. I've passed the assessments, and one of my neighbours now has two recycling bins and is trying to send one of them back. Things are moving, even if not as expected.
Update - June 5th.
After a couple of days away I return to find a letter welcoming my new wheelie bin, saying the Council hopes we'll be happy together, and also saying it will be emptied this morning.
BUT - no wheelie bin!
The story rolls on.
Update - June 10th.
Still no bin for me, but my neighbours, both having some physical problems, were told that their wheelie bin could be collected from the top of their garden steps (and returned when emptied). Now they have been assessed (following a failure to return the empty bin to the garden), and the four steps are judged too hazardous to be negotiated by the Bin Operatives. Life becomes unspeakably perilous!
Update - June 13th.
Someone in some office has ticked the wrong box, saying I have a bin when I haven't. What a surprise!
I now have a reference number so that the next time the bin doesn't arrive I can quote the number. Then what.....?
This Council uses a logo which claims it is 'Committed to Excellence'. How would it be if it was 'Committed to Confusion'?
Update - June 17th.
My neighbour (he of the confidentiality issues) makes one call to the Council Hub and receives a wheelie bin the next day. A lorry comes along the road, laden with wheelie bins, but none has my vital reference number. Do I quote non-delivery, or do I just forget the whole thing and either dump my empties into someone else's bin or throw them over the fence into my neighbour's garden now that he has a bin? Am I dealing with sexism, ageism or just everyday daftness?
Update - June 19th.
Neighbourhood wheelie bins emptied this morning, including that of a neighbour who didn't want one and had not requested one.
I don't care.
A kind neighbour had offered space in hers, and as there were bottles of Chateauneuf du Pape and Pouilly Fuisse left over from elder son's visit I thought it would be ok, (also Bishop's Finger, and Old Peculier from younger son, but still not image-harming).
My descent into paranoia continues.
Thank you, Linda.
Update June 22nd.
I am delighted to announce that this morning I was safely delivered of a wheelie bin. Absolutely no one was to blame for the six-week delay. It was all the computer's fault. Of course!