'Chaos' as hundreds of people queue for hours in 20C heat for new recycling bins

Fiona Simpson
'Carnage': Residents branded the situation as 'mayhem': Nick Matter/Twitter

Hundreds of people queued for hours in a B&Q car park on one of the hottest days of the year to pick-up new recycling bins as a council blunder sparked “chaos” in south London.

Residents in Sutton were urged to visit the gardening and DIY chain on Saturday to pick up extra bins as temperatures soared as high as 20C across the capital.

The instructions came as part of a shake-up of the borough’s waste collection system which will see residents asked to separate rubbish into five different bins.

Furious collectors, staff and councillors branded the situation “a shambles” as 1,500 flocked to the store – causing “chaos” in the multi-storey.

Huge queues: Hundreds of people waited for hours (Asharani Rohit/Twitter)

B&Q employee Julie told the Sutton Guardian: “The queue is absolutely tremendous.

“There are about 150 cars parked in our car park so our customers can’t get in.

“They have run out of stock so they’ve had to go to Croydon to get more bins.”

She added: “It’s a bit stressful to say the least.

“The customers are getting angry and we are bearing the brunt of it.”

Angry residents took to Twitter using the hashtag #SuttonBinShame.

One user wrote: “Just tried to get extra bins at B&Q for free from council. What a joke the queue is so long.”

Ahzaz Chowdhury said: “There are now two queues. One for people who are yet to collect bins. One for people who have bins but no lids. #SuttonBinShame.”

Another wrote: “Pitiful organisation by @SuttonCouncil for the collection of recycling bins. Bringing Sutton Town Centre to a standstill!”

Jacques Oeuf said: “I hear that the extra free recycling boxes have run out at B&Q in Sutton. Chaos and anger from residents. Shambles.”

Conservative MP Paul Scully added: “I spent two and half hours speaking to frustrated residents stuck in an entirely preventable shambles.”

The borough’s recycling service has been taken over by environmental company Veolia as part of a £10.3 million cost-cutting bid, according to the Sutton Guardian.

A spokesman for Sutton Council said demand for bins had been “higher than expected”.

Councillor Manuel Abellan, Vice Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee at Sutton Council said: “We apologise unreservedly for the issues affecting the introduction of our new rubbish and recycling service.

“On Saturday Veolia had thousands of green boxes and a plan in place to restock as needed. The huge demand caught them off guard. It is unacceptable that people had to queue for so long.”

Scott Edgell, General Manager, Veolia South London said: “We are continuing to roll out the new rubbish and recycling collection service and are working hard to complete the transition process quickly. We are working with Sutton Council and residents to resolve any issues as smoothly as possible.

“We thank people for their patience and apologise for the inconvenience the introduction of these new services has caused.”

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