Recharge and re-arm!!

Hopefully you have all managed to enjoy time with family and friends and to recharge a few batteries over Christmas and New Year. I always found it a paradox that at the time of year when most of the country is looking forward to partying and merriment, we in council collection services view it with trepidation and fear, not knowing what the weather will do to disrupt things or how much the waste and recycling tonnages will increase. We are a strange breed, aren’t we?

But you are a resilient and creative breed when challenged. Throw into our seasonal cake mix this year the spice that is Covid and things have become more than fruity. Our monthly survey of service disruption gives us a sense check of what you are experiencing and this month’s might show a challenging picture if the media stories are true. Thank you for your responses and the time you spend to submit them. We really appreciate your support and contribution and many other organisations are asking for what you are telling us. You are the frontline and the real barometer of the truth. This is one way of knowing how things are going from an evidence rather than a headline grabbing basis and gives us data that no other organisation has which is why it is so in demand.

The LARAC office saw several media enquiries last week (first week of January) on the subject of disruptions to collections and I did my first ever live TV interview on Channel 5. 

Which for me was doubly rewarding because in my old jobs they were pre-recorded, and I usually got dropped on the day of broadcast for the dead donkey story!

It is always disappointing that waste management only grabs the national headlines when it is perceived to be going wrong. The media love black bags piled up in the street and angry interviews with disgruntled residents. No one ever wants to know about every day we get it right - the millions of households that get their collection every week on schedule. But maybe it is this, the unappreciated Herculean effort you will put in to make the magic happen for residents, that makes you what you are, that wonderful, strange breed.

And what of 2022? What fickle pleasures are yet to be served upon us? Who knows – the last two years have been so unpredictable even Mystic Meg must have packed up and changed jobs!

We are expecting Defra’s response to the second consultations by Easter and the other administrations are beginning to produce policies to deliver their circular economy ambitions. Banning single use plastics is the first policy area out of the blocks and will be the first test for joined up thinking to ensure a level and consistent playing field across the different governments. LARAC has long maintained that waste and recycling is one of the truly cross border areas of the economy and devolved policy must ensure that all citizens enjoy the same opportunities and benefits and the policies do not enable or promote waste crime or detrimental environmental practices.

Whatever lies ahead please continue to use the discussion forum to ask for help and to support others with your experience and knowledge. Also please feedback to LARAC HQ and your regional reps how we can continue to be there for you.