Poplar residents revolting over Council’s ramshackle recycling system

Residents of Poplar are so fed up with the new recycling scheme imposed by the council that they have set up a petition to get it changed back to the previous system that worked a treat.

The petition asks Mayor Biggs to make recycling easier in Tower Hamlets by supplying community centers and other shared facilities with recycling bags for easy access.


Rubbish next to recycling on the Teviot Estate in Poplar.

For many years community groups such as Teviot Action Group (TAG) on the Teviot Estate and other voluntary organisations had a good system going whereby pink recycling sacks would be dropped off at their offices and residents would pop into the office and get some sacks whenever they needed them.

Result? Residents kept their neighbourhoods clean and tidy and recycled efficiently.

Simple idea that worked well. So the council changed it.

Result? Communities that were kept clean and tidy by responsible residents are now littered with rubbish (see photos) which are an eyesore, a health risk and a fire risk.

Rubbish next to recycling on the Teviot Estate in Poplar.


The new system means that residents can only collect recycling bags from Idea Stores on Wednesday and Saturdays. For those with busy careers, working families, the disabled and the elderly this is just not possible, and will be a bigger issue for all in the winter.

The council website states that  residents can collect one roll of recycling bags and/or food waste bins liners per visit by showing proof of your address such as a utility bill, council tax bill, bank statement or driving licence. And if you can’t get to an Idea Store or library, you can use any clear transparent bag as an alternative.

Few people, especially busy working parents, will have the time to visit an Idea Store on a Saturday. Which leaves Wednesday. When they will probably be too knackered from work to make an evening visit to their local Idea Store.

The other odd thing is that the previous system of dropping recycling bags off at central points for collection cost the council nothing – because community centres are staffed by volunteers of course.

Those who do go to their Idea Store with their proof of address have to be checked by a council officer. And that officer costs money.

So it seems the new system reduces recycling, increases rubbish on the streets and costs more money.

Who knows what the logic is behind the system. Maybe there is a thriving black market in pink recycling sacks with Recycling Sack Kings making fortunes?

Beyond stupid

Since this was first published this comment was made by a resident on the Love Wapping Facebook page:

“You forgot to mention they’re also always running out. I raced around to three different ones where the one on Roman Road promised to hold some for me (& did, even with traffic & I nearly got a ticket). Had to race there because the officer was only there until five. Beyond stupid.”

That really is beyond stupid.

Common-sense please

Bottom line is that the petition is asking for a common-sense approach to be taken by the Council because the new system is not working. Any costs saved are swallowed up by the extra work needed to clean our streets. Recycling has reduced since the change.

Our communities want to keep the borough clean but we cannot do this with an unworkable system of recycling bags distribution.

On the up side there has not been a spate of roadside lemonade selling in Poplar.

You can sign the petition here.



%d bloggers like this: