Residents of a Georgian street have been ordered to separate their rubbish into 13 different bags, leaving the area in a mess.
Hundreds of rubbish containers and bags pile up every Thursday morning along Caledonia Place in the affluent suburb of Clifton, in Bristol, owing to the council’s strict recycling rules.
Rubbish is separated into general refuse, plastic and metal, cardboard, paper and glass, food and garden waste, while there are another eight optional collections including clothing, batteries and shoes.
Food waste has its own bin while clothes and shoes, small electrics, shredded paper, and batteries all now require separate carrier bags.
Engine oil must go in a sealed container and both car batteries and spectacles must lie loose next to the recycling bins.
The weekly scene on the street lined with large balconies and sash windows is in stark contrast to its normal picturesque nature the other six days of the week.
Bristol City Council recycles 46 per cent of its household waste – which leads the way compared to the national average of 44.1 per cent.
The push for recycling is based on research that the more bins you give people, the more inclined they will be to recycle.
But some residents are unimpressed by the strict rules.
Tracy Clement, 57, a director in education, said: “The bin collection doesn’t work, it’s a farce.
“Most of the people living here are in flats and there’s too many containers outside all day and they’re hanging on listed railings which they shouldn’t be anywhere near.
“There’s always a mess and there’s animals and vermin that come out of the bins outside on bin day.”
She also recognises the issue of residents having to leave their rubbish inside their flat all week waiting for the collection.
“Top flats should be able to leave rubbish in the basement but the basement flats don’t always like it because they leave it there and it smells – it doesn’t work.”
Imogen James, 18, has lived in Bristol since February and said she has found the system awful as a result of poor management.
She said: “I think that they are pretty useless. We’ve had to ring the council several times to complain that they haven’t picked up the recycling and rubbish in the past which just causes more of a mess in the street.”
Most of the houses are separated into flats on each floor, creating four times the amount of rubbish in some cases.
Ms James added: “When I moved in my landlord told me to be really careful as the council are very pedantic, but I have found they just don’t pick up the rubbish.
“You shouldn’t have to ring the council and ask them to collect it.”
The bin staff will refuse to take the rubbish if it hasn’t been sorted properly, which sparks fear in some residents if their neighbours put a coke can in the wrong box.
Council encourages recycling
However, other residents believe the council has done a good job at encouraging recycling.
Mike Barton, 72, who has lived in his first floor flat for 30 years, has seen neighbours come and go but he has kept up the community feel which helps with the bins in his 18th-century home.
He said: “It works alright as long as people know when to put things out, newcomers don’t really know and there are a lot of rental properties, but I’ve got to grips with the different collections over the years.”
However, he admits that if people put their food in the wrong bins it causes issues with rubbish spread across the pavements.
A company director who moved into the area three years ago loves the system and agrees it’s much better than the systems he’s experienced before.
Jock Shepherd, 66, said: “It’s clearly organised, and there are regular updates on the Bristol City Council website and as long as you adhere to the guidelines it works really well.
“I don’t find it a nightmare to separate all the rubbish, I just found it was something to get used to.
“If my neighbours and friends don’t do it correctly, I make them aware of it and if you see rubbish hasn’t been collected, that sends a message and I let everyone know that there’s a reason for it.”
Bristol City Council has been contacted for comment.