NEW bin collections started across Torbay yesterday amid complaints about bins being left behind and rubbish left to rot.
Tor2 — the new joint venture company linking May Gurney and Torbay Council — will not reveal how much it is costing to implement the new scheme in 60,000 homes.
A Tor2 spokesman said the information was "commercially sensitive" but insisted that the cost would be absorbed by May Gurney and that Torbay Council would make £1 million of savings.
Tor2 also revealed that 6,000 homes had not yet had their bins, but the spokesman said: "We aim to have them by the end of the week, and if people have concerns their rubbish will be collected regardless."
Fifteen thousand of the old green wheeled bins will be redistributed to other households and the rest will be recycled into plastic pipes, new recycling boxes and bins.
So far 3,600 green bins have been recycled.
Seven thousand people who now receive an 'assisted lift service' will continue to receive that service automatically, and Tor2 is processing another 3,000 requests for assistance.
New Government and European Union targets for recycling mean that Torbay Council could face fines of up to £14 million a year if it does not cut the amount of biodegradable waste it sends to landfill.
Last year the council sent 37,800 tonnes of household waste to landfill at Teignbridge at a cost of £2,419,200.
Landfill tax accounted for £1,512,000 of that, and the level of tax is due to increase, with the council facing a further bill of £1,209,600 by 2013 if its landfill tonnage is not reduced.
The extra money would have to be found from council tax revenues.
Tor2 director Alistair Campbell said: "The new recycling and waste services are a fundamental change for Torbay, but a very positive one.
"This allows Torbay Council to avoid fines and landfill taxes of up to £14 million a year — a significant sum of council tax payers' money which would essentially be wasted without the introduction of the recycling service."
As the new collections started, many local residents were far from happy.
Pensioner Dennis Johnson, 70, from Ferndale Mews, says he has had a triple heart bypass operation and a stroke, and has arthritis in both hands, and that Tor2 staff had left his full boxes behind even though he had submitted special assistance forms.
His wife Jill, 68, is immobile, so no-one else can help him.
He said: "They saw that there were no boxes on the drive and they didn't even bother coming up the drive.
"I could wheel the old bins around. It was a struggle with the weight, but it was easier to move.
"My concern is for all the other elderly people in Torbay expecting a proper service.
"The bins are just sitting on the drive and there is no leaflet. There is nothing.
"If they can't get it right on day one, what is it going to be like for the rest of the time?"
Rebecca McPartlan-Morey, 32, a mother of two from Pillar Close, Brixham, said that nappies from her young children had been sitting in her black bin for two weeks already, and changes to the collection calendar had meant that they would not be collected for almost a month.
She rang Torbay Council and was advised her to put the nappies into the now-defunct green bin in the meantime.
She complained, and received a phone call from council staff to tell her that a special collection would take place to collect her waste.