South East Wales

Protest in Blaenau Gwent over 'Troliblocs' bins system


About 200 people have attended a protest in Blaenau Gwent over the council's new recycling system.

In October "Troliblocs", a stack of three recycling boxes on a wheeled trolley, were sent to residents with black bags collected every three weeks.

Campaigners at Ebbw Vale's Civic Centre said on Friday disabled and elderly people struggle to move the trolleys, especially in houses with steps.

Blaenau Gwent council said it was sympathetic and had made concessions.

The council said it was open to further dialogue and respected the peaceful protestors.

It added all authorities in Wales were required to undertake a kerbside sort collection service, meaning the previous system was not meeting requirements.

The campaigners said they had less room for recycling because of restricted space in the trolleys compared with putting out unlimited numbers of recycling bags previously.

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Media captionPeople chanted outside Blaenau Gwent council's headquarters

Mandy Shale, one of the protest's organisers, said people did not feel properly consulted about the changes.

She said: "They've not gone around and asked anybody how they would feel about it, how they would manage.

Image caption Dorothy Evans, 72, who has had three strokes, said she struggled to move the "bulky" boxes and wants bags back

"We have a lot of houses up on mountains, with steps to the front, steps to the back, and the older generation living in many of them.

"If the boxes are full they weigh over 23kg.

"They used to have all their recycling bags taken from the back lanes. Now on rubbish day people are being asked to move their cars."

Recycling in Blaenau Gwent

Blaenau Gwent is the joint third-worst performing authority in Wales. December 2014 figures showed it recycled 51% of its waste

To address this, it has started a process of sending out new Troliblocs (a stack of three recycling boxes on a wheeled trolley) to its residents. These separate paper, metals, plastics and glass and cardboard.

The cost of the new system is between £3.8m and £4.3m, with some of this cost met by a Welsh government grant. The council hopes it will generate income as well as improving recycling rates.

Image caption Linda Rosser said she had difficulty moving the boxes up dozens of steps at her home in Ebbw Vale

Because the materials are already sorted, officers estimate between £150,000 and £250,000 could be saved annually. Black bags are also collected every three weeks.

While some residents were concerned about storing the Troliblocs or moving them down steps outside their properties, the local authority said it would supply alternative systems if people were struggling to manage them.

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