Hastings flat dwellers currently experiencing rubbish collection delays are not alone. The Borough Council’s new contractor, Biffa who took over last June, has struggled to organise and complete collection round schedules since early October and consequently completely missed some dates. Conversely, some recycling collections have been duplicated. 

At least one block with overflowing bins waited five days for them to be emptied.

Getting through on the phone to report missed collections sometimes isn’t easy, with one complainant waiting 26 minutes. Asked what was going wrong, a call centre worker referred to “backlogs” and “management issues” at the contractor.

The problems centre on the large wheeled bins serving flat blocks. In one case HIP witnessed workers dragging the heavy rubbish containers 50 metres to the truck rather than – as with the previous contractor – reversing directly to the bin store, a practice inevitably slowing progress.

A spokesperson from Biffa said: “We apologise for any inconvenience caused to customers in Hastings. Through internal investigations it has become evident that, whilst our collections have been occurring daily at the correct frequency, they had not been executed at the optimum timings. We are currently in the process of re-addressing this issue and, in doing so, are working closely with the Council to ensure our service is as efficient as possible.”

Biffa also verbally assured HIP that their collection vehicles have steered rear axles, enabling them to access tight collection points – flatly contradicting the visual evidence of two successive trucks at one location that demonstrably did not.

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