When they changed the recycling firm from council to private, we sighed.  What would we do with the coloured bin bag rolls we still had? Not to worry, we could still use them. However, they were going to issue every household with new coloured bags which would be emptied ( recycled, you see).

Instead of four rolls of blue, red, green and white, we now had a huge black plastic box for glass, a heavy duty (and heavy) orange fibre plastic bag for cardboard, a red plastic fibre ( also weighted at the bottom) for tins and plastics and a blue plastic fibre ( weighted as well) for paper. These last three had a pull over top to keep the rain off. It doesn’t matter if glass gets wet. At least it doesn’t if they collect it on time. They had a blank square on the side of each of them ( apart from the black box) to put your house number in, so you wouldn’t get mixed up.

The first collection of the new regime went off really well. They didn’t turn up. It rained. No one took the boxes in. No one had any room for them anyway and they certainly didn’t want wet soggy cardboard and paper in their houses.

A fortnight later and the mounds had grown.

The recyclers came. They spent a long time matching numbers up so that everyone who put out four bags got four bags back. No they didn’t.  Not one of the bags had our number on it. Not one of the bags had any number on it. Never mind, there were four.

The following fortnight we somehow ended up a blue bag short. Hold on, I hear you cry, it was windy, it could have blown away down the road. This may very well be true. The bags are parked by a wall at the end of a cul de sac with a short lane to one side ( dead ended) and us to the other. If the wind had blown we would still have seen it somewhere.

No matter, there were still some blue bags left on the roll. Today we put out a box, two bags and a blue sack. We got back the black plastic box and a red bag. Not the one we sent out. This was a different one. Maybe it fancied a change, a holiday from the cramped conditions it lived in. It wasn’t to know it had transferred to an excruciatingly small place.

To get in the shower, we lift the boxes to one side and then open the door a fraction so we can squeeze through. If they fall over while we’re in the shower, we are trapped. Until someone comes to rescue our embarrassed selves. To go out through the  main door is a manhandling extravaganza. Points are added if you can strain your back with the twisting and lifting of heavy boxes that spill their contents at the apex of the heft. I have accrued the most.

Ring them up and let them know. Demand two new bags. I would if I could get through. It seems the phones are blocked by the inordinately large number of complaints this new scheme has had since they took over at the beginning of April.  Seems fair to me. Why not waste our money on replacing recycling bags? There’s nothing else to spend it on, is there?