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Xmas bottle bank demand a ‘wake up call’ for council, says Cllr

One local councillor said that the current situation regarding bottle banks should serve as a "wake up call" for the local authority.

Bring bank in Drogheda
A Bring Bank in Drogheda. Photo Credit: Barry Landy/LouthNow.ie.

The quantity of glass recycling being deposited around the county over the Christmas period ‘overwhelmed the system’ despite a 25% increase in the number of collections carried out over the festive season, Louth County Council have admitted.

Sinn Féin councillor Joanna Byrne told the latest meeting of the Drogheda Borough Council on Monday afternoon that the current situation should serve as a “wake up call” for the local authority, criticising the body’s failure to proactively deal with the heightened demand over Christmas.

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She told fellow councillors and officials at the meeting that local residents who live near certain bring banks in Drogheda were left to pick up much of the slack last month.

“Residents across the road from from one of the bring banks – on the morning of December 29 – had to go out and lift bottles up and put them in their own bins because they feared in advance of New Years that the area would be a target for anti-social behaviour and drinking.

“At the last council meeting of 2019, I asked for us to be proactive and not reactive,” Cllr Byrne said.

“Drogheda is well known for its civic spirit but the day when residents have to start picking up after a shortfall from the operations department of the council should be a wake up call for us all. This is something we need to take into consideration ahead of all holiday periods going forward. We need to take stock of this.”

Senior Engineer Mark Johnston, in reply, confirmed the contractor provided 25% more collections than usually scheduled over Christmas and New Year but admitted there is only so much they can do.

“It’s still a problem to collect all the glass over Christmas. It does tend to overwhelm. It’s the same across the entire country. The contractor has limited trucks on the road to get to multiple points.

“It’s a case of supply and demand. It is overwhelming the system.”Johnston said it was incumbent on users not to leave bottle or other good for recycling beside banks if they are full. “It is a littering offence and an eyesore,” he said.

Paddy Donnelly, Director of Services, said there was a responsibility on the user of the facilities. He told the meeting the council had evidence that some people just leave bottles and boxes beside the banks, even when they are not at capacity because they don’t see it as their duty to deposit the bottles individually into the receptacles.

“If a litter bin is full on the side of the street, most people don’t leave their rubbish beside the bin. They take it home or to another bin,” he said. He was keen to remind people of the recycling centre (V&W) in the town and said there could be increases in collection frequency.

“We cannot have the bottle banks emptied every day. The capacity is not there in the sector to do that.”

Meanwhile, Mayor Paul Bell raised the issue of people dumping domestic waste at the bring bank on Palace St/King St over the Christmas period. “I know wardens did attend. That particular bottle bank has been a problem for a considerable amount of time.

“I am again asking council to consider introducing CCTV into that area. It has not improved,” he said.

Mayor Bell aired his disappointment that in the IBAL report released earlier in the day it had been noted that the some bring banks were in bad condition and cited bottles being left in boxes outside the receptacles.

Senior engineer Johnston confirmed that CCTV had in fact been in place at the Palace St/King St bank on two separate occasions, including last summer and as part of an anti-dumping initiative. He said that 24 fixed penalty notices had been sent out.

The council official also said that the area will continue to be considered as a location to place temporary CCTV cameras going forward, subject to funding.

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