Sutton's new bin rounds have captured the imagination
The public reaction to Sutton Council's new fruit-themed bin collections has been a mixed bag.
While it appears to have caught the attention of the national press, including a rant from Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail last week, the new collections are proving a talking point in pubs and front rooms across the borough.
The controversial new collections, which began last week, are spread between the hours of 6am and 8.30pm, including a new Saturday collection between 7am and 2.45pm.
Areas within the borough have been named after fruit to signify which day their bins will be collected and to help people remember.
Now, rather than just having regular Monday, residents have Blueberry Monday, Lime Tuesday, Strawberry Wednesday, Lemon Thursday, Plum Friday and Peach Saturday.
By using a waste lorry twice a day with different crews on board, instead of using the fleet all at once, the council has reduced the amount of waste vehicles it needs from 30 to 20, saving itself £500,000.
Matt Clubb, head of waste management, admitted the service has had a few teething problems but that was to be expected.
"We've had a few roads which we have missed, but we are operating a mop up round to pick up anything which doesn't get collected," he said.
"The crews are learning new routes which have been thrown up as a result of the changes so they are getting used to it."
Our man James Pepper out on a refuse route
Mr Clubb reassured residents that apart from later collections during the day and a Saturday morning collection for the peaches, they would not notice the difference.
"During our review, residents made it clear they wanted to keep weekly collections," he explained.
"By using this continental model, and with it, becoming the first authority in the country to introduce double shifting, we don't think things will be any different for residents."
However, sources in the council's waste and recycling department have said during trials of new routes some collections did not finish until 10.30pm - and predicted the new routes would overrun their 8.30pm cut off.
Graham Murray, a binman, said of the new collections: "It's taking some getting used to but it's going well so far.
"Some of the men on the afternoon shifts will have to adjust their body clocks because they've been used to getting to work at 5.30am.
"The important thing for us is that we've still got a job – and the residents are happy that they’ve still got a weekly collection."
Comments on the www.suttonguardian.co.uk include Suttonres22 saying: "I think this is brilliant, a bit wacky but certainly memorable and I will certainly remember when my bin will be collected."
Meanwhile one relatively witty resident quipped: "Where I live I am now in an area known as Lime Tuesday and as requested put both my bins out by 6am.
"By 8.30 my green bin still had not been emptied. Well done Sutton Council your new scheme has already gone pear shaped."