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Puerto, champions of recycling but refuse collection still a thorny subject 

Just over one month into 2019 and I am already talking rubbish. My favourite topic, I know, and one which Puerto’s Ayuntamiento seems to make such a big deal out of.

Of course, I shouldn’t even refer to it as rubbish; sus-tainability is the new buzz word, so it’s not rubbish, it’s recycling, and it is recycling, or should I say the collection of it, which is the council’s problem. (I know I should use Ayuntamiento, but council rolls of the tongue much easier and is a lot simpler to type correctly).

However, I have to say, to their credit they performed quite well over the festive season, what with Christmas, New Year and Tres Reyes upsetting the normal collection routine, and at the same time providing much more rubbish/recycling to be collected. Although, their well intended, I am sure, suggestion that residents should refrain from putting their refuse out for almost a 48 hour period to help the situation probably went down like a lead balloon. A period which incidentally coincided with Tres Reyes, when obviously, because ‘fiesta days’ are sacred in Puerto de la Cruz, there was no one working to collect it.

As I said, there was little evidence of a problem, a couple a glass recycling bins over flowing, but that was to be expected as people traditionally over-indulge in the festive spirit. Oh, and a growing mountain of cardboard just off calle Mequinez, for which there can be no excuse, as it took a week before it was eventually collected, by which time it was ‘Teide’ sized (a slight exaggeration). It is not as if they can claim they didn’t know about it, as pictures of the growing mound appeared on all the anti town hall protagonists’ social media pages. And it is not good enough to simply blame the contractor. So, all their good work elsewhere, undone in an instant, as social media tells no lies and takes no prisoners.

I confess, I am a recycler, it just seems to me to be the right thing to do, although that said, I am not naive enough to think for one minute that all my carefully separated rubbish doesn’t all end up in the same place, landfill. Publicity and public feeling has created a monster, as more and more people embrace the idea that recycling is good. Yet all we are doing is creating growing mountains of waste products that basically, no one wants. The answer is to dramatically reduce packaging. Now get off your soap box Brian and get back to the point.

There is a point to all this, it is just not waffle. Puerto’s council like to think of themselves as the island’s champions of recycling, pioneers even, as they strive to separate rubbish ‘at source’, regardless of where it all ends up. And to be fair they have their successes, the garden waste collection in the brown wheelie bins seems to work well, although while they have locks it does still limit their use to a certain extent. However, I understand the reason, a wheelie bin is a rubbish bin in some people’s eyes regardless of the colour and their rubbish goes in the nearest bin whatever its intended use. There is an element in this town, quite a large element if my own bin area is representative, who will always remain ‘unconverted’, and that is the council’s problem.

So what are they doing about it? They have come up with a new idea, it is not cutting edge, nor is it ground breaking, it has been tried elsewhere, quite successfully as well, but it is still our council’s new bright idea and they are going to trial it for a year. At least that was what they said a few months ago, but there hasn’t been a word since, so now I wondering if it has, or will be, implemented.

So what is this new initiative? I am sure you are all waiting with bated breath, anxious to know. Well, it is the plan to return to doorstep collections, with different ‘products’, i.e. household, glass, plastic, paper/cardboard, collected on different days of the week. Not really worth waiting for was it?

As I just said they are to trial it for a year in part of the Municipality, before, I guess, rolling it out throughout the rest of the Puerto. A year may seem a long time, but they have to get it right, be convinced that it works, and that it is the right way to go. However, what is interesting to me, and what says a lot about their intentions, is the area they have picked for the trial, namely San Nicolas.

Now, I am sure there are many of you who won’t know where it is, and from those who do, many more who didn’t realise it was part of Puerto de la Cruz. Why choose that particular area? For one, it is small, only about one hundred dwellings and one business. Also, it is quiet and uncongested, and is just five minutes from both, the refuse collection depot, and the recycling centre in the San Jeronimo industrial estate. Plus, of course, it is a very conservative area where there is likely to be support for the scheme, or if not wholehearted support then, at least, little opposition.

But, is this trial in a tiny enclave, deep in their voter heartland, going to represen-tative of Puerto de la Cruz as a whole? Of course not, but then that is not their priority, their priority is for the trial to be a success, which it surely will be, with all the cards stacked in their favour, it is impossible to fail. Will they roll out the scheme throughout Puerto on the strength of this trial? I wouldn’t think so; it will never work on a larger scale given the makeup of the town. If the truth be known, which it never will, this is little more than just another publicity stunt, like so much else that emanates from the town hall at the moment.

Refuse collection will always be a thorny subject amongst the ‘electorate’. I use that word, because, let’s face it, with 26th May creeping ever nearer we are not citizens any more, we are potential voters. Refuse is an issue because its cost is very public, it is not hidden away, paid for by the general rates, it is a separate entity, paid for, quarterly, by every household in the town, and let’s be honest no one wants to pay it. As such it has a finite ‘pot’, if they want to improve the service then they have to do it within their budget or the public will soon become all too aware of the extra cost.

Still, as a little ‘sweetener’ to the citizens/voters the council pledged that there would be a 15% reduction in the cost of ‘basura’ this year, or will there, right now no one seems to be so sure.