Some councils will not be collecting bins for up to a month over the Christmas period - raising fears of rubbish mountains that will become a risk to health over the festive period as household waste rises by a third.
Rubbish collections are always moved around a bit over Christmas, but this year a combination of cost cutting initiatives are leaving some households without a collection for a month.
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Penny-pinching councils have moved to less and less regular collections of rubbish in an effort to cut costs, so fortnightly collections are increasingly the norm. Over Christmas, some councils have opted for a complete halt on rubbish collections for up to two weeks. It's expected to save them significant sums, but will mean some families are not having their bins collected for a month.
According to the Derby Telegraph, Derby council has taken this approach - shutting from 4pm on 23 December, until 3 January. Residents responded to the Derby Telegraph's report with concern about how the rubbish will attract pests, and real anger that people are paying so much in council tax to receive such a poor service. One man even threatened to take his rubbish to the council house to show councillors the strength of his feelings.
In other areas, refuse services aren't shutting down, but are being postponed because the refuse collectors do not work the bank holidays. In the vast majority of cases this means pushing all collections back a day until collectors catch up on the Saturday after Christmas. This is not going to go down well with those residents who already have to wait three weeks between collections - including Oldham, Argyll and Bute, and Anglesey.
In some instances, the council has chosen not to shift all collections back a day - but to penalise those whose bin day falls on the bank holidays. In Bath, for example, those who usually have their rubbish collected on 26 December will have to wait until January 2nd.
Even then, refuse collectors will not take everything away. There's a good chance that wheelie bins will be overflowing by then, but they are not obliged to take away any bags poking out of bins, or put out beside them. It means some bags could fester for six weeks or even longer.
We only have to look back at the situation in 2011 to see what could happen. Back then, bad weather delayed some collections, so that residents waited a month to have their rubbish taken away. Bin bags were piled in the street, they were attacked by seagulls, rats and foxes, and rubbish was strewn all over the road. Some families complained that it was no longer safe for children to play outside, because the rubbish posed such a hazard.
There's also the risk some people will get fed up of having the rubbish in their garden, and will be tempted to fly tip around the area.
Then there's the fact that some people will want to recycle packaging from expensive gifts. This either means storing the boxes indoors for a month, or storing them outside - advertising to burglars that you have expensive items in the house.
But what do you think? Should councils be prioritising a basic service over penny pinching? Or are they doing this because they are out of other options? Let us know in the comments.