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.
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.
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.
@suttoncouncil perhaps the mayhem in Sutton this morning should tell you you got the recycling bins wrong. Please rethink!— Diane Wakely (@dianewakely) April 8, 2017
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!”
@Mayor_Sutton pitiful organisation today for recycling bins. Complete underest. of demand and waiting for lorry to empty before resupply!— TMI (@lbsTMI) April 8, 2017
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.”