The Advertiser has been inundated with requests from local residents to remind people to take steps to prevent refuse sacks being ripped apart by seagulls and wildlife scavengers on collection days.
Some residents so appalled by the rubbish strewn throughout Helston’s streets have posted photos on social media to highlight the ongoing issue.
To check out the problem for myself, I visited several streets on scheduled collection days and didn’t find a single road without bags torn apart.
Nuisance birds and vermin are often attracted to the smell of food and take advantage of uncovered big bags, often left out the night before collection.
Some people appear to criticise the council for the problem yet it seems residents are equally to blame.
Refuse sacks containing food waste create most of the issues, yet taking simple steps such as covering bags with a blanket or sheet can help solve the messy situation.
Outdoor dustbins with a lid can be bought for less than £10 and wheelie bins can be sourced for around £30. The council also offers cost-effective alternatives with reusable seagull-proof bags available for £3.50 at One Stop Shops. The tie-up bags can hold up to three black sacks of rubbish and have a secure velcro fastening along with a weighted base to stop them blowing away after collection.
It is worth remembering that domestic rubbish is our responsibility until it is collected. If residents inadvertently create litter from spilt bags and don’t take steps to stop it from happening they can receive a fixed penalty notice. Domestic waste spread across the pavement is also unsightly and unhygienic.
This sad situation also highlights how much food we throw away. According to recent research as many as 8.4 million families in the UK struggle to put food on the table – and yet, 7.3 million tonnes of food waste ends up in landfills each year. Around 80% of the 22 million tonnes of food wasted in the EU is also deemed ‘avoidable’, with the UK at the bottom of the food waste league. Food waste is a complex problem and the food industry, not just the consumer, must take responsibility.
In the meantime we can all take simple steps to prevent seagulls from leaving a trail of destruction on bin day. The question is whether we have the appetite to solve it?