Wednesday, 15 February 2012

EASI Earley Adopt a Street Initiative Guest post

I recently joined EASI, Earley Adopt a Street Initiative, a local litter picking group. If a volunteer joins from every road we can make a real diffence to the area.

Here is there newsletter.
Right now we have 190 team-members. The number is steadily rising, as we have just put leaflets through more doors (thanks again to those of you who have been able to help us with this). We're confident that all of Earley's residential streets & nearby paths will be covered by EASI before the end of 2012. Also, groups similar to ours have been set up in Woodley and elsewhere in the borough, and we've had enquiries from further afield ... imitation is the sincerest etc etc.

We know some of you aren't able to get out so often on to your road, with your picker, but don't worry -- removing even small or occasional amounts of litter from view is better than none at all. But do all try to ferret stuff out from under any shrubbery on your patch, before the spring leaves appear and cover it up! Also, please glance at your printed EASI Guidelines (June 2011 version) occasionally.

As for your litter-pickers, watch the green handle for a first sign of a white line across the side: this means it is about to break -- and it's much easier for us to repair if it hasn't done so! And do please get in touch now, just to say all is well (or not) on your EASI-street, if we haven't heard from you in the past six months.

An important date coming up is Sunday 25 March: the Huge Earley Litter Pick (or just HELP!). If you can possibly spare a couple of hours, from either 10am or 2pm, then go to the Interpretation Centre on the bend in Instow Road, sign in, and spread out doing good! Alternatively, if you would like to concentrate on a black-spot near you, we could put you in touch with other EASI-people nearby who might be able to join you (bags will be supplied & then collected, by arrangement).

And a week later is 2 April: are you all aware of the big changes to Wokingham Council rubbish-collection arrangements that are going to happen? In case you are not, they are listed below. The important thing after April for EASI is that if you think you will require extra official bags for putting out your collected litter, WBC will deliver to you special green ones marked EASI (just phone 0118 974 6000). You will be trusted not to use them for household rubbish! The hope is that you will not need many if any -- it depends on your litter-droppers, of course, and whether your household will fill its own allocation of blue bags. Anyway, there's nothing to stop you tipping your collectings into any (large) council bin, as long as you don't nearly fill it.

Later in the spring or in early summer, we shall be organizing another bring & share EASI-party -- remembering the success of last year's! (In order to vary everyone's opportunity to come, it won't be on a Friday or at the beginning of July as last time.)

Shops are a big source of litter -- or rather, some of their customers are. But we have just had a most encouraging success in focusing on the Co-op shop on Wokingham Road: they agreed to start litter-picking their side-pavement in Meadow Road as well as their frontage, also to apply to their management to install a second litter-bin in front, and to display a couple of "Please Put Your Litter in a Bin" posters from us (these posters also describe EASI, and will be appearing in all litter-generating shops, when we can get to them, and on Earley Council notice-boards). Next, we started our two councils discussing the installing of more litter-bins on roads around the Co-op. And lastly we managed to recruit two volunteers right at the top of Meadow Road by the shop! The place is now surrounded by a dozen EASI-people (or almost: we need to find four more down Wokingham Road).

When we two were planning Earley Adopt-a-Street Initiative, just a couple of years ago, our aim was to persuade between about 20 and 25 Earley residents to start picking up some of the litter in their own streets. We appear to have missed this target in a big way! Keep up the good work -- which not only gives you physical exercise but is also good for your brain-cells, as they work to distinguish the small litter from everything else: leaves, twigs, bird feathers...

Best wishes,
Brian Hackett (986 1115)
Peter Soul (926 4997)

You will soon be receiving details from Wokingham Borough Council about changes to refuse collections from Monday 2 April. To help you digest them all, here's our version:

- The contract for collecting is switching from SITA to Veolia. The lorries will collect refuse and recycling together, every week. Veolia are committed to "clean collecting": no piling up of bags in advance, and anything dropped will be cleared up -- good news for EASI !

- General rubbish will only be collected in official WBC blue plastic bags (which won’t be taken if seen to contain garden waste). If left out overnight, it's recommended the bags are placed in a bin or other suitable container.

- Eighty blue bags will be delivered to each household per year (more for households of five or more). Additional bags will be available at £4 per ten, from all council offices and libraries: if you're in N Earley, the Woodley outlets should suit you. No reason not to give surplus blue bags to neighbours in need of capacity.

- The black boxes for recycling will be emptied weekly. The items accepted will be the same as now: tin & aluminium cans (+ lids if safely inside, and clean), plastic bottles (no caps), and cardboard & paper -- nothing else (otherwise it's great trouble to "decontaminate"). These items can all be mixed in one box, as now. The men will empty the boxes into a skip on wheels, on the spot, instead of carrying them to the lorry and back.

- A recycling reward scheme will start. Once registered for it, you will be given points (exchangeable for store tokens and the like) each month, based on the total weight of recycling collected "in your area", and also weekly, if you phone or email to say you have put your box out!

- The options for green waste are: (i) apply for delivery of a free 240 litre brown wheelie-bin, which will be emptied fortnightly for £60 a year, (ii) register instead to have your green waste collected for free in any quantity of (nominally) 75 litre WBC paper sacks, which you must buy for £1 each, from council offices & libraries, (iii) compost all you can (this is what WBC would prefer you to do), (iv) take any amount to the Smallmead tip.

- You could apply for two wheelie-bins @ £120 a year -- or at the other extreme you could share one with a neighbour. You can opt for the bin at any time, but opt out only the next April.

- The day of your weekly collection could change, because of the lorry-routes being rearranged to make them more efficient.

Please help, where you can, by explaining any or all of this to people in your EASI-street who don't understand it! Maiden Erlegh Residents' Association has said to WBC several times that the new charges for green-waste collection are too high (particularly in comparison with neighbouring areas) -- but without result. WBC points out that it is not obliged to collect green waste, and that the charges represent the overall cost of the service. But we in MERA and EASI are much concerned about a possible increase in "green-fly-tipping". Please therefore look out for any dumped greenery as you litter-pick, and report it to WBC or to us.

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