Due to possible strike action by Southhampton City Council next week rubbish collections may be severely disrupted. Those who live in areas where fortnightly bin collections are the norm will understand the stress and inconvenience this will create, especially if you spot a rat sniffing around.
Rubbish collection is a highly emotive subject for many people. It bonds strangers in pubs and divides communities. But the cruel thing is, if one collection gets missed, which happened across the country earlier this year, it’s a month before the bins are emptied. And that can create all sorts of problems.
So, once the bin is full, what are you supposed to do with your rubbish? You may not have time or the means to visit the tip (I’m not even sure if they will allow a dripping black bin bag on the local bus?). The excess rubbish needs to be stored somewhere safe from attacking rats, cats and foxes.
I own a cat so storing rubbish indoors is out of the question. I tried it once and the prized chicken carcass along with tea bags, dirty nappies and remnants of an Indian takeaway were strewed across the utility room floor. The cat still hasn’t apologised.
The first technique I employ in emergency situations is to squash the rubbish down as much as possible, getting into the wheelie bin with my wellies on if necessary. You’ll be amazed at how much room this creates. That buys rubbish space for another week. By week four, the rubbish goes on top of the bin, a bit like a rat piñata, then migrates across to the top of the green bin.
I’ve also tried storing rubbish in the garage, but cats/rats/foxes attacked it. That was a BIG clearing up exercise. The wendy house was an option, but the kids cracked all four of the plastic windows and they had to be removed as a health and safety precaution.
The lids of my recycling bins are really loose. Secure it with something heavy, though the police advice not to keep loose bricks or large stones near your home as these can be used to break into your house. Be sure to wash out your tins and cartons before placing them in the recycling bin so as not to attract flies, cockroaches, rats and mice, and probably cats and foxes too. Plus it’s a filthy habit, right up there with not rinsing your milk bottles out.
In the summer it’s worth disinfecting your bin. Last year there were maggots in my green bin. The safety and warmth of the bin provides an optimum breeding location for flies. To get maggots just one fly needs to lay some eggs in the delicious rotten food tossed in a few days earlier.
The house fly can complete its life cycle in as little as seven to ten days. Each female fly can lay up to 500 eggs over a three to four day period. They then hatch into maggots. Another reason NOT to store rubbish in your home. A fly infestation can be difficult to treat on your own.
So this summer keep the lids to your wheelie bins flat and always empty your indoor bin before you go on holiday because you really don’t want to return to a fly infestation. As for the contents of your wheelie bin when you get back from a three week trip, after missing a fortnightly collection we really don’t want to know!