10 October 2016
Council faces student backlash over new bin regulations
by Natasha Christofidou
Students in Exeter facing a build-up of overflowing bins that the Council is refusing to collect – with both students and local residents forced to deal with untidy front porches and unpleasant odours.
IN November 2015, Exeter City Council introduced a new set of enforcements for the collection of bins, as an initiative to encourage recycling from the Council. However, as these rules were only enforced in January 2016, many students and landlords remain confused about the new regulations – with council workers refusing to collect bins that are either overflowing or not properly shut.
However, the Council’s initiative in encouraging Exeter residents to recycle more has come with significant backlash.
Student housing areas, such as Pennsylvania and Mount Pleasant, have been left in a “grim state”, which “makes the front of houses look and smell gross,” a fourth-year Politics and French student told Exepose.
Student Community Wardens have been dealing with an increased number of student complaints, seeking support in disposing extra landfill and recycling bins. A University spokesperson said that they ‘would advise any students who have inherited waste to liaise with their landlord/agent as soon as possible.”
Exepose found that, throughout the month of September 2016, numerous houses along Longbrook Street and Pennsylvania had been left with abandoned black bins on the pavement. Student complaints have outlined how “ridiculous” it was that “waste is left uncollected.”
A second-year Economics student expressed their frustration at the Council: “I don’t understand what we’re expected to do, it’s absurd that our waste isn’t collected, even though we’re trying to recycle and get rid of our landfill by placing it all in the bins provided. It’s not our fault that a lot of it doesn’t fit in the bins, which is the only reason we’ve initially left bin bags lying on the pavement.”
The University’s Community Liaison Offier, Rory Cunningham, stresses that the University is willing to help students who are struggling with recycling around student houses – especially around move-in periods.
“We are keen to let students know what extra recycling can be taken as long as it is bagged up, labelled recycling and placed beside your recycling bin on recycling day”, he explained.
“The University is fully supportive of the Council’s drive to improve recycling and reduce rubbish” Cunningham continued. “We recognise that it is a challenge for students to recycle effectively when a minority of landlords provide the wrong information or do not clear bins before tenancy begins. We have a very positive relationship with the Council and will be using the Student Community Wardens to help provide accurate information to students who require support.”
However, students have complained that this information needs to be better publicised.
One fourth-year Politics and French student explained that, after returning from her year abroad, she was unaware of such exceptions: “Our landlord didn’t even tell us we were allowed more recycling during Freshers’ Week, so we had to take it to a main recycling centre in town.”
Further complications are seen around around the issue of inherited waste, which included leftover waste from previous tenants, or items that have been placed in student bins by members of the public.
The University’s Student Community Warden team advises students to contact their landlord or housing agency regarding most inherited waste.
However, in the case of a lack of communication, the Guild’s Advice Unit can offer support in such scenarios by proofing and enforcing tenancy contracts and avoiding miscommunications.
Further information regarding the issue will be provided at the Advice Unit’s Forum Street Fair on 12 October, when Student Community Wardens will offer advice regarding bin disputes, along with general housing advice.
The iExeter app also features alerts and advice about the issue, including bin collection dates in town.