WHAT A MESS: Lynette Moore with her pile of rubbish to be picked up by Tweed Shire Council.
WHAT A MESS: Lynette Moore with her pile of rubbish to be picked up by Tweed Shire Council. Contributed

New rubbish pick-up: 'Complicated and farcical'

COUNCIL'S new on-call household clean-up collection service has been slammed by ratepayers as ineffective and fraught with problems.

Council introduced the new pick-up service in July last year to replace the former service which saw it pick up bulky household waste from the shire's footpaths twice a year.

The new system relies on residents phoning council to book a time for operators to come out to their property to pick up the waste, with the waiting period usually around several weeks.

Only two cubic metres of waste is permitted to be picked up and it should only be placed on the footpath the night before.

But Eviron Rd residents Andrew and Lynette Moore said their experience with the system had not been positive.

After several failed attempts in December to book their pick-up service over the internet, the Moores finally phoned council and secured a booking for Tuesday, March 6.

Due to work commitments, the family was forced to place their rubbish on the sidewalk over the weekend, only to see a stream of passers' by stop to either scavenge from their pile or add to it.

"I noticed ... quite constantly people's utes pulling up and chucking rubbish on our pile, there was building rubbish, personal rubbish,” Mr Moore said.

"As people are frustrated with the system they see this as a chance to get rid of their rubbish and just put it on any pile they see.

"I think the last system was better, maybe not perfect, but it worked.”

When the contractors finally came to pick up their rubbish, much of it was left behind with a note placed in the Moore's letterbox informing them they had exceeded their two cubic metre limit.

Mr Moore - a surveyor by trade and familiar with measurements - argued there was no way they had done so but said he was unable to control what others added to his pile.

"It is a complicated, farcical rule they make up and then they come down on you like a tonne of bricks and say you have to remove the rubbish immediately for littering,” Mr Moore said.

"It is just farcical. It is heavy-handed. Council is very quick to jump all over people who they think might be in breach of something but they don't put good systems in place to start with.”

After posting his concerns on social media, the site was inundated with similar comments from unhappy ratepayers.

Council waste operations officer Wes Knight said council had been forced to make the changes to the pick-up as the previous system had become unwieldy.

"When I first started with council 10 years ago we were collecting about 800 tonnes of waste per year during the bulky waste when the collections were done in May and November,” Mr Knight said.

"We are now picking up about 4000 tonnes per year. We have quadrupled the volume of waste that is being put out. It got to the point we just couldn't manage it.”

He said it had reached the point where residents from neighbouring shires and across the border were routinely dumping their bulky rubbish on Tweed sidewalks, adding to the mess.

Mr Knight said after extensive consultation, the council had agreed to introduce the dial-up service to encourage people to limit their waste disposal.

He said this was preferred over the option of giving ratepeyers free coupons to the tip as it meant the elderly and those without the means of getting to the tip could still have their bulky rubbish picked up.

He said while teething problems were to be expected, the service was going well for 99% of people.

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