Residents’ fears as clinical waste collections are cut

Changes in bin collections in Teignbridge will mean clinical wastes will be collected fortnightly, rather than once a week.

Concerns have been raised by residents and councillors after Teignbridge and Devon County councils announced the changes which come into force on November 21. Non-infectious waste including catheter bags, stoma bags, incontinence pads and bandages, will be collected fortnightly along with the general rubbish. It will affect around 700 households in Teignbridge.

The collection of sharps, needles and syringes and infectious waste will continue weekly.

Cllr Gordon Hook is asking the council to reconsider the fortnightly collection.

However, Teignbridge Council says the change follows a survey of residents.

Susan Bolt, 69, lives in Newton Abbot and has a colostomy bag after recovering from bowel cancer eight years ago. She is concerned about the health hazards of leaving human waste uncollected for two weeks.

She said: “It’s going to be a health hazard. After one week there is an odour, so after two it won’t be nice.

“I know the council is cutting on spending, but I feel sorry for the binmen. It’s going to be smelly.

“It’s summertime I’m most concerned about. When it gets warm, germs are going to spread, and the smell is not going to be nice.

“There are a lot of people who will be affected by this change. People with leg ulcers, for example, who have to change their dressings which will count as non-infectious, so they will not be collected for two weeks.

“Colostomy bags are not biodegradable, so if they end up in landfill they will not disintegrate.”

Cllr Hook said: “Things like wound and blood dressings are classed as infectious, and the collection will remain the same, but things like colostomy bags fall under non-infectious.

“It is unpleasant, unsavoury and embarrassing for those people it affects. It’s a cutback by another name, and it is withdrawing from people who need it.

“It is an uncivilised thing for the council to do, and it seems to penalise people because they are ill or have health issues.

“I will be asking the council to reconsider their decision.”

Cllr Kevin Lake said: “We will continue to collect clinical waste in a safe and appropriate manner, but now some items can be safely put into a black bin to prevent physical handling.

“Prior to this change, a residents survey was carried out and highlighted a change in service was needed.”



This is clearly a difficult situation. Money is tight and there are many calls on the Council budget. We cannot offer an easy and straightforward solution, though one immediate issue is of great concern, yet so often overlooked.

It appears that this couple, pictured in the Torquay Herald Express report, as using a yellow sack – no evidence of a Tiger Stripe – in a grey bin that is unlockable.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.


But perhaps the newspaper image is misleading? The story suggests that their wastes can now go into the residual domestic waste min, not being separately collected. In which case, things are slightly better but the question remains, why do they have yellow waste sacks?

And though they live in a house, the bin is not in a secure location – it will now be there for two weeks before collection. What about those living in HMOs, flats or apartment’s?



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