Council’s threat over bin service

Mike Bell next to his waste bin. (Picture ' Adrian Murray)
Mike Bell next to his waste bin. (Picture ' Adrian Murray)

A disabled pensioner is being warned his waste collection service may be withdrawn by the council following a dispute over unbagged ash.

Mike Bell, 79, of West Tanfield near Ripon, received a letter from Hambleton District Council (HDC) warning him that he cannot put unbagged ash in his black wheelie bin as it poses a health and safety threat to collectors.

Mr Bell receives an assisted collection service from the council due to his disability but said his ash cannot be placed in a pull tie bag as it would burn straight through.

As well as writing to him with this warning, the council has also placed stickers on Mr Bell’s bins reminding him not to put his ash straight in the wheelie bin after cleaning out his fire.

Mr Bell argued that his bins are mechanically lifted into the lorries so would not affect the collectors and, as a result, does not believe that the situation poses a risk to them.

He said: “It started last year as before I start my fires, I clear my old ash from the fireplace and put it into a wheelie bin first thing in the morning.

“It can’t always be put into pull-tie bags because it will burn straight through and I don’t have any metal bags. I’m in a wheelchair so I’m sat down at a level where the dust flies and they’re complaining it’s getting in their faces.

“The wheelie bins are lifted mechanically to the lorries and the dust that flies out is well over the heads of the men who are doing it. They are not affected by the dust.

“They have stuck stickers on the bin warning about it and it says ‘if you have done this then your bin will not be emptied’. How can they say they will not do the job they are being paid to do?”

Mr Bell described the letter he received from the council as “childish” and believes he’s not the only person who is putting the ash straight in the bin.

HDC said that if ash remained unbagged, it blows into the faces of their waste operatives when tipped which is a “health and safety issue”.

A spokesman for HDC said: “Mr Bell has had plenty of time to resolve this issue – council officers have offered him advice on how to bag the ash. There are residents across the district who place ash into their black bins correctly and this is all we are asking of Mr Bell.

“We have tried to work with him on this issue – and will continue to work with him.”