Wednesday 20 February 2008 10.09am
I am not proud of this, but it worked.
For over two years now, we have had a very
intermittent recycling collection from my building, although it should be every Monday. At one point there was no collection for nearly 9 months, which was only broken when local councillors got involved and clashed some heads and we received a personal apology from the Head of Recycling. Turned out the collection crews kept swapping us onto different routes, and in the end we just disappeared.
It improved, but was still off-and-on after that, and when it all stalled again for another 2 months last summer I made an official and very clear complaint, referencing the previous palaver. However the complaint was misunderstood, and after a team of council employees came with cameras and tape measures, I was told we could not have bigger bins, as I had requested. I lost the plot and ranted down the phone that we did not want bigger bins, and it did not need a team with cameras and tape measure to see that there is barely an inch of spare space in the bin store. We just wanted the normal bins EMPTIED occasionally.
So... they were indeed fitfully emptied until the last month or so, when it stopped again completely. Despite weekly, then daily calls, I was always told it would be the next day. It never was.
Yesterday after the 4th day in a row of being told "tomorrow", I really lost the plot. I went over to the Penrose Street offices with a big bag of paper, washed cans and plastic bottles and tipped it all out in their reception area and explained I was bringing my recycling to them. Childish, I admit, and possibly even counter-productive, but I explained that after 2 years of waiting for a service I was at the end of my rope, and this was my protest at the terrible service.
They started to call the police, but then decided not to. I was instructed to clean up the rubbish, which I refused to do. In the end they kicked me out and cleaned it up themselves.
7 o'clock this morning, I am woken by the sweet sound of bottles being collected from the back of my building.
Like I say, I am not proud or triumphant about this pretty silly action of mine, but neither am I ashamed nor regretful. Mostly I am disappointed in Southwark Council
that requests, pleas, complaints, councillors, Heads of department achieved nothing, but a crazy person with a bag of rubbish did.
I am writing to the Head of Recycling today to explain my actions anyway, so they don't write it off as a random nut.