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Foul smells, dirty roads and maggots: How is Salford’s three-weekly bin trial working?

The controversial move to switch black bin refuse collection to once every three weeks will save millions for cash-strapped Salford City Council.

But for thousands of families in the trial areas across the west of the city, it’s a dog’s breakfast, literally.

The bin trial was given the go-ahead last November in a policy move met with strong opposition from Salfordians.

Read: Salford to trial three-weekly bin collections in 2016

This resident-led petition is just a few signatures shy of 10,000.

Worsley, Boothstown, Ellenbrook, Irlam, Cadishead, Little Hulton, Pendlebury, Swinton and Walkden face another six months of three-weekly collections with the trial scheduled to end in February next year.

If it’s considered a success – and this is the key point – it’ll be rolled out to parts of Kersal, Winton, Eccles, Ellesmere Park, Weaste and Seedley, Claremont and Langworthy, by August 2017.

Readers have put forward several hundred comments on Facebook detailing their personal experience.

At the beginning of the trial, Jody Dobson wrote: “Halfway through the school holidays and I can’t cope with the kids being in the house anymore but I can’t let them out in our yard to play as it is disgusting.

“I have a baby still in nappies which is only making the bin worse although each nappy is individually bagged the heat is still causing the stench and flies and maggots it would be negligence as a parent to let my children play in the disgusting conditions.

“Without having the luxury of a large garden I have no choice but to keep them indoors.”

The trial areas are across the west of the city, in Little Hulton, Walkden and parts of Swinton.

And with a warm late-summer in Salford, conditions have only got worse.

Sue Partington said: “M27 [Swinton] it’s disgusting, there’s nine of us here , we recycle everything we possibly can, my bin is full to the brim after two weeks.

“We have our 5-month-old granddaughter living here with 6-7 nappies a day, dog poop, rubbish blown in my garden off the street, it’s horrid , maggots and so many flies, it will be rats next.”

Time is suppose to be a great healer, but as we venture into our third month of the trial, the reduced collections are a bad smell that just won’t go away.

Maxine Gardiner told us: “I am in the pilot area and myself and neighbours have been over run with maggots.

“I recycle everything, I don’t wash out some things like raw meat packages as it’s a health risk.

“It’s disgusting especially in these hot weeks we’ve had. I have contacted Salford council but they have not answered back”.

Gill Gore said: “We’re having to go the tip with rubbish as our bin is full after one week (yes we do recycle).

“We also have a 10 month old and so by the time the collection comes round we’ve had dirty nappies in there for three weeks! It’s disgusting!”

Chris Thomas wrote: “It’s a brainless idea.

“Now it just about works with the cardboard and plastic and tin bins.

“But it does not work for families with the general waste.

“I am taking at least two bin bags to the skip at work.

“I have also noticed bin bags and plastic bags dumped in the street during the night.

“I have also been to the council tip at [Little Hulton] and noticed people taking their everyday rubbish there also”.

And Cheryl Phillips commented: “I have a two year old and even disposing of nappies in nappy sacks and inside bin bags inside bins cats are inside my bin and have maggots crawling over the bin lids – disgusting !!!”

SalfordOnline.com have been talking to Salford City Council about the trial.

The key point which would prove whether it has been effective, is raw data.

Unfortunately at this stage there’s no clear information available about what is and isn’t working.

We’re told because of the way the trial has been structured, and with Bank Holiday interruptions, the Environment department is still collecting and collating that data to measure whether it has been the success they’re hoping for.

And different streets in different areas don’t get the same collections on the same days, so it’s taking longer to quantify.

Councillor David Lancaster is the Lead Member for Environment and Community Safety at Salford City Council.

He told us: “If we don’t increase recycling further and stop sending so much waste to landfill, we could be looking at spending up to £3.5 million more on waste in the next few years.

“That’s an awful lot of money to spend on throwing rubbish into a hole in the ground.

“If we can boost recycling we could save at least £1 million per year.

“That’s money we can spend on services for local people.

“It’s estimated that 35% of the waste that goes into black bins could be recycled, so there is a lot of potential.”

Salford City Council has been running an EU-funded Recycle and Reward scheme for the past six months which has handed thousands of pounds to needy local community and volunteer groups.

If recycling rates in one of the selected areas goes up, local groups come in line for rewards.

It’s still running now, in fact.

Here: Vote for your local group to win recycling rewards

But clearly, a solution to the bin situation in Salford needs to be found quickly, especially since environmental and health concerns are worsening.

In Bury and Rochdale, private bin collectors have capitalised on the growing need for a shorter cycle of bin collections, and now these firms have been advertising in the Salford area.

Shirley Jones commented: “It’s a public health hazard but by the time Salford Council admit they know this, the problem will be horrendous.

“We have to spend our time and money going to the tip every week just to cope, even though we’ve already paid Salford Council to do this.

“Think about those guys emptying bins too, there have been concerns raised about their health in research recently.

“Salford will eventually be sued in future when employees get sick because they failed to protect employees, but it’s us the public that will ultimately pay the price.

“I recycle, clean the bin, and take refuse to the tip every week but this isn’t practical or possible for everyone, not everyone is able to do that, we have to consider them as well.

Gill Hickford writes: Whilst this is an issue for many households, we are currently doing okay with the three-week collection as we have supportive neighbours who don’t mind sharing bins.

“I did however receive a leaflet through the door for a weekly bin disposable collector for a price of course which we may have to consider in the future.

“We refuse to pay for a private company when we pay council tax.

“In some councils they use smaller size bins and collect every fortnight this should be something Salford Council could consider.

Councillor Lancaster concluded: “If everyone in the city recycled just 22 extra plastic bottles, 17 extra glass jars and 30 more cans a year, it would push recycling rates in the city up by 5% and be so much better for the environment.

“I do understand people’s concerns about this but weekly food collections will not be changed.”

So can innovative readers in Salford come up with a more effective solution to the problem?

We’d love to know what you think.

If you are affected by the bin trials or think you have a solution, have your say by commenting below, join our 18,000-member Facebook group or contact newsdesk@salfordonline.com.

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