Lewes Forum thread

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On 18 Apr 2012 at 2:51pm brixtonbelle wrote:
Anyone able to tell me why the Lewes recycling scheme is so poor ? It now seems they are not taking plastic as well as cardboard as they've left all the plastic milk bottles and other plastic items that they normally take. They haven't taken the tin cans either. What's going on ? (Every other box along the street has been collected/ emptied). Are there now only certain types of plastic taken ? Come on Lewes District council, get it sorted !!!
On 18 Apr 2012 at 4:35pm bastian wrote:
It is crap here, for such a hippy right on town it is really rubbish..no pun intended.
On 18 Apr 2012 at 7:35pm Cllr Ian Eiloart wrote:
In general, our recycling scheme is actually quite good. It was -I'm told- the first doorstep recycling scheme in the country, by the way.
It seems to me that leaving the plastic bottles may have been a mistake. I think you'd need to phone the council and ask about that.
We are quite careful about what we ask people to recycle. Unlike other councils, we don't want to collect stuff that can't actually be recycled. And, we ask people to separate things so that we have a high quality recycling stream, which the council can actually get a decent price for. Not that the recycling scheme pays for itself, but getting a decent price helps to keep your council tax down.
Doing it properly has paid dividends in the period since 2008, when the economic environment has made it hard to find any market for recycling materials at all. According to a 2008 report in the Telegraph (see the link below) three quarters of councils were sending some of their recycling to landfill. I don't think Lewes was one of those councils.
As for cardboard, we do collect it from some properties. They're mainly flats, but there is a pilot scheme on the coast to extend that to other residents. If successful, and when the finances permit, that scheme should be extended to the rest of the council.

Check it out here »
On 18 Apr 2012 at 8:04pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
It certainly wasn't the first in the country. My parents lived in Milton Keynes, and they had doorstep recycling long before we did.
The scheme there is far more comprehensive. They take cardboard as well as paper, food waste and garden waste, plus plastic and glass. And they give everyone 2 free wheelie bins, and take large items (sofas, washing machines etc) free of charge.
On 18 Apr 2012 at 9:44pm Mercian wrote:
Iain, if cardboard is such an issue and is hard to recycle, why is there a separate skip for it at Ham Lane? Is that all going to landfill, is that what you are saying? And the tetrapacks / juice containers I put in the box at the car park by the Phoenix, is that not being properly recycled either?
I am baffled as to why the council does not collect food waste to compost as most other councils do these days.
Your tone seems to suggest that you think Lewes is in some sort of vanguard by having a cardboard trial on the coast. Most places I've lived were collecting cardboard to recycle years ago. I am still utterly baffled as to why there is a skip for the stuff to be recycled at Ham Lane but it apparently can't be collected from my door as there is nowhere to recycle it.
As regards the council tax point, well I don't want to rant, but it is not particularly low and compared to other councils I have lived in (i) you seem incapable of gritting pavements and (ii) you have a very poor recycling scheme. I coul dadd other points, but if the council tax was peanuts I wouldn't mind. But it isn't. I'm still not sure quite what it goes on.
On 19 Apr 2012 at 3:18am expat two wrote:
I heard that landfill sites need the cardboard to initiate/propogate aerobic decay in the rest of the rubbish. In recent years this has lead to landfill stabilising as buried trash rather than breaking down into organic matter, and thus creating a bigger ecological headache than the volume added by permitting the cardboard, so cardboard is indeed being thrown back into the mix. Nothing to do with it being hard to recycle.
It sounds to me suspiciously like an attempt to undermine green initiatives - can anybody support or refute?
On 19 Apr 2012 at 9:48am Cliffite wrote:
Pretty sure my Aunty initiated all the recycling in B&H well before Lewes. Does that mean I can get a CT rebate as I walk all our recycling to the collection points near Cliffe or walk my cardboard to Ham Lane?
On 19 Apr 2012 at 9:50am brixtonbelle wrote:
My family are spread all over the country in both rural, town and city areas. All of them have more comprehensive recycling schemes that include cardboard, all types of plastic, garden waste. The Lewes scheme is, let's say, a very basic one of the type that was being rolled out ten years ago in other parts of the country. Some schemes now also take food waste (and they have lower council tax than Lewes).
Why didn't they take my plastic milk bottles when they have previously ?? It really makes me cross when this so-called eco/green/transition town can't even get this sorted.
On 19 Apr 2012 at 10:25am Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
Ian, are the recycling credits and savings in landfill tax not enough of an incentive to recycle? Or has the hideous blot on the landscape otherwise known as the incinerator produced a perverse incentive by reducng landfill tax payments?
Re cardboard, I wasn't aware that landfill was ever intended to break down into organic waste, as much of what goes to landfill is inorganic. I think your informant may have got confused between landfill and compost, Expat! (Cardboard is great for compost, in small quantities).
Surprising amount of consensus on this thread. Most unusual!

On 19 Apr 2012 at 10:40am Mercian wrote:
Yes bb - my family live all over the country too, in rural areas that are more sparsely populated than Lewes District and in cities, and they all have schemes that make the Lewes one look pathetic. The deprived Inner London borough I used to live in had far more comprehensive WEEKLY recycling, and the council tax was no more than Lewes!
"Our recycling scheme is actually quite good" - well quite good for the 1980s, I suppose. There are some outrageous things said on this forum, but that statement from our councillor comes pretty close to outdoing most of them. Our recycling service is basic, infrequent, and extremely narrow. You'd have to not have left Lewes much to think otherwise.
On 19 Apr 2012 at 12:21pm Phaedra Isabella wrote:
I won't be happy with Lewes District Council's recycling collections until they collect cardboard. It is without a doubt the most we have to recycle, and yes we do save it to take it to the dump, but without a car it becomes quite a cumbersome task. I would love for the collections to be weekly too! And yes, we are paying more than enough council tax for this to be something that should be a priority!
Also, Cllr Eiloart, you say you "don't think" that Lewes was one of those councils...please use hard facts - it either was or it wasn't!
On 19 Apr 2012 at 12:31pm Chillum wrote:
BB, I'm sure the collectors didn't leave your milk bottles on purpose (unless you don't rinse them out) and it's a simple mistake. Get over it. There are parts of the town that have no recycling collection at all.
On 19 Apr 2012 at 12:33pm Old Cynic wrote:
The recycling in Lewes is poor compared to Cheshire where my family are - they have roadside collections of plastics, glass, cardboard, garden waste every other week - excellent scheme (council tax is alos lower.)
Also, the Town Council should take pride in how it looks - Lewes is a right mess at the moment - how about, for starters, weeding the budlia sprouting around Brian the Snail - especially as they seem to have a contract with a gardening firm!
On 19 Apr 2012 at 12:51pm Don't get me started! wrote:
Oh dear me, the more I read of these posts the angrier I got. Lewes really is a very dirty town (don't getb me wrong - I still love living here). Other than the station approaces - which are cleaned EVERY day, the rest of the town is getting increasinlgy more grubby. Although I am pleased that we get a fortnightly collection of paper, bottles and plastic, it is a total travesty that a councilor can crowe about how good Lewes is compared to other towns. I think we should be just about bottom on the list in the country for recycling. And to say that they are doing a "pilot scheme" for cardboard - well, what the hell for? Its waste for Gods sake isn't it? Given that I pay just under £3K in council tax for this type of service really does beggar belief.
And while I am at it, can the town council sort the pavements out? They are dangerous (especially for the elderly) in most areas. And the side roads - Oh lor I had better stop as I have steam coming out my ears.
On 19 Apr 2012 at 12:54pm PLUMPTON LAD wrote:
brixtonbelle, I can only guess for some reason your property was left out of the most recent collection - LDC certainly collect plastic milk bottles and cans where I live. Suggest you call them to get them to pick it up or send them an email. They are not going to be able to help you by looking at your posting on this Forum!
I understand that doorstep cardboard collection is due to be rolled out across the District, following the trial period, but others may know more than me.
On 19 Apr 2012 at 1:47pm Southover Queen wrote:
The London Borough of Camden has had a weekly kerbside collection - including cardboard - for many years and interestingly the equivalent council tax was about £250 per annum less than here last time I heard.

The pavements are an absolute disgrace. On Rotten Row, for instance, you take your life in your hands, particularly at night. The choice is between stumbling along a pockmarked uneven and sloping pavement or walking down the middle of the road. The second is the choice of most, to the evident alarm of motorists who don't expect to find the roadway occupied by pedestrians who are just trying to remain upright.
On 19 Apr 2012 at 2:00pm Stig of the Dump wrote:
I leave my recycling at the end of my drive, but out of the way of my car. Why is it that the collectors are not able to put the empty boxes back where they found them instead of just chucking them back into the middle of the drive? You might think that isn't much of a problem, but I have twice now dented my car because it has been dark when I came home and I haven't seen them, and have reversed straight over them.
It is not just the recycling people, it is the dustmen too. They often seem to be selective about what they take, often (especially recently) leaving bags in my dustbin, and on occasions I have even had bags of other peoples garden waste left by my bin, obviously after they have realised what is in them and couldnt be bothered to put them back where they came from. I then end up having to take it to the dump myself! Great! Whats more they NEVER put the lid back on the dustbin so of course it fills up with water if it's raining. How much time and effort can it take to leave things as you find them?
Makes me seethe!
On 19 Apr 2012 at 2:01pm Deelite wrote:
Damn, forgot to put out my recycling today.

I've been putting our cardboard recycling out for a few weeks now and it gets taken. Barcombe is not on the coast. Perhaps someone is stealing it.
On 19 Apr 2012 at 2:05pm Matt Kent wrote:
@Ian. From what residents have been telling me, recycling in Lewes is very limited. residents want cardboard collection so they dont have to trek down to Ham Lane or North Street. I have contacted Cllr Jim Sheppard many times now to discuss how Lewes can have a comprehensive cardboard collection in Lewes. The simple answer is finding space around Lewes for trucks to decant cardboard on their rounds. Some flats around Malling for example have large wheely bins (like the one along Spences Lane), so it can be done. The District have 80% coverage but very little in Lewes itself. Pressure should be kept up on the District Council so they find a way of responding to what residents want. That is what I will continue to do. LDC Cllr Sheppard is interested on potential locations where cardboard could be collected. I have suggested the recycling point outside Malling Stores as a start.
On 19 Apr 2012 at 2:42pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
They used to leave our recycling boxes in our drive, and my husband kept running them over when he backed into the drive and flattening them. We only had to complain a few taimes and they started putting them in a sensible place.
Dustmen and bin lids: why do they leave them off? It annoys me too, having to tip a bucket load of stagnant water out of the bin every time it rains hard on a Monday.
I agree about the pavements too. St Andrew's Lane is one of the worst. The brick paving is attractive but so uneven it's scarey.
I'd quite like to know when they're going to fix the lights on the steps that lead up to Castle Precincts car park. I think they've been out for 4 or 5 years now. Years ago, when the council owned Pelham House, the Pelham House gardener used to take care of that area and he kept it clean and got stuff fixed. It's just a litter-ridden lair for oiks now.
On 19 Apr 2012 at 2:47pm Mercian wrote:
"I understand that doorstep cardboard collection is due to be rolled out across the District"
That may well be. It doesn't stop it being an outrage that it hasn't happened yet, and that Lewes appears to be well behind where most of the rest of the country was five years ago.
The problems with pavements aren't helped by the lack of traffic calming in Lewes. When are we going to get the 20mph limit?

On the same topic, Lewes will need, at some point, to address what it will do with traffic. A town of its history on the continent would have banished cars from the city centre years ago. Some big decisions will have to be made in the coming years -- the amount of cars passing through the town will only increase.
On 19 Apr 2012 at 2:48pm brixtonbelle wrote:
Well seems no one is happy with the recycling scheme, except councillor Ian, who doesn't seem particularly well informed about it anyway.

Chillum - which parts of town have no recycling collection at all ? ( incidentally the milk cartons were plastic and washed and clearly visible.)

Lots have people don't have cars, or can't make the trek to recycling points, which is why a comprehensive kerbside recycling scheme is so important. Cripes if all the various councils mentioned above can manage it, why not Lewes ?
On 19 Apr 2012 at 2:49pm Billy-Bob Plumpton wrote:
Oiks? In Lewes? Shirely not! Well done to the District Council anywho for trying to get us cardboard recycling and the pilot scheme.
On 19 Apr 2012 at 2:55pm Clifford wrote:
One of the funniest e-mails I've had for some time was the reply when I asked LDC why batteries we had put out for recycling in a bag provided by the council hadn't been taken. It went: 'I don't believe its printed on the bags, but something the collectors have decided to do as the batteries can be fiddley to remove if there is only one or two in the bag and very time consuming if a lot of households per round put only a few batteries out each week.'
On 19 Apr 2012 at 3:09pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
Ffs! What that means is "they can't be arsed". Surely it's not up to the collectors to decide what they will and won't do?
On 19 Apr 2012 at 3:09pm Mercian wrote:
"Well done to the District Council anywho for trying to get us cardboard recycling and the pilot scheme."
Errr. No. Outright condemnaton and finger-pointing that they have been unable to produce a scheme such as the one that has been running in neighbouring Wealden for some time now.

Check it out here »
On 19 Apr 2012 at 3:16pm Billy-Bob Plumpton wrote:
Condemnation they haven't done it but praise the are now doing it aren't mutually exclusive Mercian.
On 19 Apr 2012 at 3:33pm Mercian wrote:
I note that Wealden also collect drinks cartons and green waste as well as cardboard, and have been doing so since 2007. They also give people large bins for both domestic and household waste, unlike Lewes, which expects its inhabitants to buy their own.
Congratulating them for a trial / introduction of cardboard would be a bit like congratulating them for getting BBC Micros when neighbouring councils had introduced PCs. (showing my age there).

On 19 Apr 2012 at 3:35pm bastian wrote:
to councillor eiloart, it may have been the first but it has been outstripped by so many other councils that that statement sounds like a rest on a bunch of laurels. Surrey take green stuff from the door step so do Devon..even remote devon. Also where, other than the dump can you recycle cardboard? I don't drive and getting a taxi to Ham lane seems a bit mad.
On 19 Apr 2012 at 3:52pm Clifford wrote:
Mercian wrote: 'They also give people large bins for both domestic and household waste, unlike Lewes, which expects its inhabitants to buy their own.'

Oh no, don't get them to give us large bins that it's compulsory to use and that we have to leave outside our front doors because we've got no room to put them anywhere else. In London I've seen entire streets of Georgian and Victorian houses ruined because of lines of rubbish bins having to sit outside all the time.
On 19 Apr 2012 at 4:02pm Cliffite wrote:
"You'd have to not have left Lewes much to think otherwise."
And this sums up a lot of the narrow-minded, blinkered thinking by some Lewesians overall, judging by some comments on here (not in this thread) - never gone beyond the town limits and full of hearsay and stories of that big bad world beyond them thar hills.
Back on topic - I've seen a recycling van servicing shops on Cliffe but when I've tried to give them my recycling have been rebuked stating that they only do commercial properties on Cliffe, not residential. With all the cardboard, perhaps one of the petshops could use some intuition and setup a cardboard shredding and recycled pet bedding product?
On 19 Apr 2012 at 5:19pm Chillum wrote:
BB, I don't think there's any recycling pickup at Ousedale and certainly none for the flats opposite the hospital.
On 19 Apr 2012 at 5:49pm Sussex Jim wrote:
IIf I get goods delivered in a cardboard box, I do not immediately fold it up for recycling. I think "what can I use this box for?" Can I use it to store odds and ends in my shed or loft? Some people chuck cardboard boxes away, and then go and buy plastic storage boxes! My idea of recycling is- first use for another purpose, or second dispose of responsibly.
Jam and other jars are great for storing odd screws, etc. Old engine oil is a great substitute for creosote on sheds and fences. Newspapers have been traditionally used for carpet underlay.
On 19 Apr 2012 at 6:45pm Merlin Milner wrote:
If I get things over packed in supermarkets, like catfood sachets, I give the box to the supermarket at the checkout. Otherwise I would be constantly driving to the tip.
Cynic, if the Town Council owned the snail I am sure we would weed it.
Personally there should be a standard sytem of recycling for the whole of the British Isles that can use economies of scale and standardised ways of doing things.
On 19 Apr 2012 at 11:40pm Harold1 wrote:
I worked in a waste paper yard when I was younger and cardboard was one of the worst things to recycle to value gained, the bails are light so they take up lots of room and If they are still shipped to Holland to be recycled as they us to be it is a total waste of time and energy to collect , best collect things that have some value..... Best white paper was very high value
On 20 Apr 2012 at 9:17am Matt Kent wrote:
Recycling facts and figures on the link below from LDC based on questions I have asked over the last few months.

Check it out here »
On 20 Apr 2012 at 1:12pm Commuter wrote:
It is pretty pathetic that LDC seem to think that Lewes has a great recycling scheme when it falls way below other schemes around the country. How hard can it be to collect some cardboard? I mean if they can cope with paper surely something slightly thicker than paper can't be that much trouble! Councillor Ian Eiloart if you are reading this please do tell us why this 'pilot scheme' is taking so long to roll out to us in Lewes? We have been talking about this 'pilot sceme' for what seems like years now! How long can it possibly take to work out how to put some cardboard in a van and take it to a big bin at the recycling centre! Every other council can manage it so why can't LDC??? It's not exactly rocket science is it! I'm sure if LDC were really interested in giving us a good recycling service they would have by now, and the money issue is ridiculous as other councils manage it and their residents pay a lot less than we do!

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