STAR readers have overwhelmingly opposed a planned change to fortnightly rubbish collections - voting by almost two to one against in an exclusive poll.
In a survey conducted by The Star face-to-face with readers and via telephone, our website and Facebook, just under two-thirds of people called on Sheffield Council to maintain a weekly service.
Of 234 people canvassed in The Star’s poll just 82 readers, or 35 per cent, were in favour of fortnightly collections being introduced.
An overwhelming 152 people - or 65 per cent - want the weekly service retained.
One of those opposing fortnightly collections is Carla Lucas, aged 32, of Holgate Crescent, Parson Cross.
She said: “There are two adults and five children in our household and we already have an extra-large bin which we regularly fill on a weekly basis.
“I don’t know how we would cope with fortnightly collections.”
Sheffield Council says reducing the service provided is necessary in the face of £57 million budget cuts in the forthcoming financial year.
But many readers argued that reducing collections would leave large families struggling, cause problems with rats and vermin, and lead to binmen losing their jobs.
Some said the bin collection is one of the few services they use in return for their council tax.
And even readers in favour of fortnightly collections said better recycling arrangements are necessary.
Sheffield Council leader Coun Julie Dore insisted the proposal to reduce bin collections is right, at a time when the authority faces massive pressures on its budget.
And she revealed households will still receive weekly visits from the binmen - but for collections of rubbish one week, alternated with collections of recycling the next.
“What people will be left with is still a weekly collection - they will just have to separate their waste into recycling one week, waste the other,” she said.
And she added: “The fact two-thirds of people in a poll want weekly collections does not tell the whole story.
“People will say they want a service to be kept, but they might change their decision if it was put in the context of whether they would prefer to keep older people’s services or the current bin service.
“Out of almost 2,000 replies to my letter asking about what the council should protect during the budget process, only 600 people mentioned bins. That leaves a large number of people who feel we are right.
“We are in a very difficult time and we have to consider everyone’s interests - including those of the elderly and vulnerable - and make cuts which impact the least on people’s quality of life.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg said: “Labour is making a bizarre decision. The party is not waiting to hear details of the Government’s £250 million offer to help councils keep weekly bin collections, to be announced in the coming weeks, and it is also axing the free green waste collections meaning people will have more rubbish.
“The incinerator requires rubbish to keep producing heat for the city, meaning Sheffield will have to import rubbish from elsewhere to burn.”
Opposition Liberal Democrat councillors said they believe weekly bin collections should be retained, and point out contractor Veolia could insist on a fee of up to £1m for contractual changes.
PEOPLE in favour of fortnightly bin collections also had plenty to say.
John Ashe, 62, of Southbourne Road, Broomhill, said: “We currently put out our black wheelie bin once every two or three weeks, so fortnightly black bin collections would be fine for us.
“We recycle or compost as much material as we can - but we do need better recycling arrangements.”
Mick Ibbotson, 46, of Piper Close, Southey, said: “Continuing weekly collections will be a total utter waste of vital funds. The council needs to provide a more efficient recycling scheme.”
Lewis Skinner said: “Now that everyone has recycling bins, there ought to be less general waste and I feel this is a saving we cannot afford not to make.
“However, I think scrapping the free green waste collection is a poor idea.”
Marion Gillett said: “Fortnightly collections are perfectly adequate, especially as there is the opportunity to do so much recycling now.”
Angela McGarry, 33, from Ecclesfield, said she was also in favour of fortnightly collections as long as binmen ‘take extra reasonable recyclable waste’.
“They should take extra if there is not enough room in the blue box or bin for paper, as long as it is parcelled up neatly,” she said.
John Fletcher, of Dronfield, said: “We have a family of five adults. We have had alternate collections for a couple of years or so. We have no problems managing our waste.
“A little thought and planning is all that’s required. And if it saves the council money - and saves jobs, then everyone should be involved.”
Veronica Parker, 34, a mum-of-one, from Sothall, said: “We recycle and our bin doesn’t need emptied every week but I do know there are people who don’t recycle at all and their bins are regularly overflowing so it would have a massive impact on them.
“I would worry about litter on the streets, an increase in fly-tipping and rats.”
Alan Tenanty, 56, a married dad of a teenager from Broomhill, said: “It takes us at least two weeks to fill our black bin so I say switching to fortnightly collections is fair enough.
“But there needs to be a willingness from the binmen to pick up bagged rubbish next to the bins if that is put out.”
People in favour of keeping current weekly rubbish collections had strong comments.
Peter Clark, of Highfield Place, Highfield, said: “Collections should continue to be weekly. The recycling currently offered isn’t good enough to support collections every other week.”
Rachel Hutchinson, of Beeley Wood Road, Wadsley Bridge, said: “We are a family of five and have a full black bin every week and a full blue bin and box every fortnight. Where on earth are we going to put a week of black bin bags?
“Does this mean we can opt out of bin collections, get discounted council tax and hire our own private firm to come and pick up our rubbish once a week?
“There is going to be rubbish and fly-tipping everywhere.”
Carla Lucas, 32, of Holgate Crescent, Parson Cross, has two adults and five children in her household - and an extra-large bin already which gets full every week.
“We have to stamp down the contents to fit everything in as it is, and we also fill the recycling bin,” she said.
John Biggerstaff, of Hemsworth Road, Norton Lees, said: “If it went to fortnightly, employees could lose jobs. It would, in the end, not save the council any money due to redundancy payments.
“It will encourage extra vermin, encourage more fly-tipping and the possibility of persons unknown tipping their non-fortnightly collection outside the Town Hall to announce the citizens’ displeasure.”
Richard McKay, 49, a property developer of Nethergate, Stannington, said: “I have seven people living in my house. I have a young family. And the black bin becomes full even though we recycle everything.”
Lee Swords, of Handsworth Crescent, Handsworth, said: “What do I actually pay my council tax for - seriously? My estate is already overrun with rats. Ludicrous decision.”
Christine Greenhough said: “Most of the bins I see each week are full and I think it’s only going to encourage fly-tipping.”