Video: Minister Burch On Waste Collection

April 17, 2018

[Updated] Minister of Public Works Lt/Col David Burch is holding a press conference this afternoon [Apr 17] to provide an update on waste collection.

In February of this year, the Minister had announced that they will revert to once a week garbage collection for a 10 week period, which was scheduled to end on April 27th.

Back on February, the Minister said the time would allow them to “conduct a full assessment of the trucks that are serviceable” as well as as “conduct extensive repairs” and “complete the TCD relicensing process.”

We will have additional coverage later on of today’s press conference, and in the meantime the live video of Minister Burch is below.

Update 3.00pm: The press conference has concluded; the Minister said that once a week collection will continue until June 29th, we will update with the full statement as able.

23-minute live video replay below

Update 4.09pm: Minister Burch’s remarks:

Good afternoon.

Let me begin by thanking the people of Bermuda, who have adapted magnificently to the implementation of once a week garbage collection. While there are still some hold outs – in the main people have adjusted and neighbours are taking pride in their own neighbourhoods. As we enter week 9 – we are greatly encouraged by the adjustment and I am pleased to report on progress thus far.

Everyone is aware of the inherited challenges we faced with both personnel and vehicles in the waste management section.

The staffing issue has been resolved with the hiring of 5 staff in March – this does not take us to the full established strength for the department but as we are in transition – no additional staff will be hired as we monitor the situation and are presently able to cope under the new arrangements of once a week collection.

This new schedule has also afforded us the opportunity to better manage the maintenance and servicing of trash trucks and we have seen a marked increase in the number in service on a daily basis.

You will be aware that we were sending a team of specialists to the UK to inspect the new trucks we were looking to purchase.

A team of 5 travelled to the UK last week – stopping first in Manchester where they visited a Municipal Garbage collection site using the vehicles we intend to purchase. The company provided access to one of their vehicles and the team went over it in fine detail with a team from the manufacturer Farid Hillend Engineering. They also discussed operational issues with staff at the site who reported that the company was very pleased with the vehicle. They witnessed the vehicle in operation and in particular the bin lifter which used identical bins to those used here in Bermuda.

The vehicle was checked against and met the large majority of our specifications and requirements. Our mechanics were pleased with the truck as it is very similar to ones we already have in the fleet. This particular vehicle had additional optional extras and safety features such as CCTV and automatic braking which were not included in our request.

The team then travelled by train to Dunfermline, Scotland to meet with staff at the Farid plant to view their production facilities. All were impressed with the quality and standard of work. Further discussions took place on availability of parts and repair procedures.

Although a visit to the suppliers was not possible as they are based in London but through Farid, the dealer has agreed to set up an account for the Government of Bermuda so that parts can be ordered directly and they will provide training and technical support.

The trucks meet our specifications – the team were all very comfortable with it and consider that it is the ideal vehicle to meet the needs of Bermuda at this time.

Some of the identified extras such as vinyl seat covers, intercom and CCTV system which were not included in our original request but will enhance health & safety – so I have approved these minimal additional costs and the order for 5 trucks should be placed this week – with delivery anticipated within 6 months.

While in the UK the team also identified potential mobile transfer stations which may suit our purposes. They will investigate potential US manufacturers of similar equipment. This is an option we are exploring to eliminate every full trash truck having to return to Tynes Bay to dump their loads. I must say these workers, all Bermudians, are very conscientious, experienced and dedicated who demonstrated their competence and professionalism on this research exercise. This concept of including all stakeholders will eliminate any challenges going forward in the type of vehicle chosen.

Over the course of the last 8 weeks – I can report that we have seen a significant uptick in the amount of garbage collected when compared to last year’s twice a week figures. As an example in week 5 we saw a 50 ton increase over 2017 from 320 tons to 370 tons with the highest increase so far in week 7 of 71 tons from 319 tons to 390 tons.

We budget $1M annually for garbage collection overtime – on average we spend approximately $70,000 per month – over the 8 week period thus far we have expended just under $13,000 in overtime and this is attributable solely to the Saturday garbage collection over the Easter weekend. So to be clear – we have not spent one penny of taxpayer dollars in unscheduled overtime garbage collection for the entire 8 week period.

Now you will readily appreciate that we have not just saved money as a result of this new scheduling – there have been savings in fuel, wear & tear on vehicles, illness and injuries. Not surprisingly – staff morale has improved as well as these workers – who take great pride in their work are so pleased that they can actually deliver on what has been promised – an almost 100% guarantee that your garbage will be collected on the day that it is scheduled.

Of course as we approach the summer months we increase the amount of garbage we produce with a peak over the Cup Match weekend. We have already begun the internal discussions on how we will monitor and respond to this increase in waste.

Now admittedly there are some weak links – a very small minority of residents – resistant to change who place their garbage out on non-collection days – are keeping our very enthusiastic and vigilant Education & Enforcement officer Vanese Gordon very busy policing this issue.

Additionally, I am increasingly leaning towards seeking approval for mandatory recycling as those who do recycle appear to have no regard for the schedule and simply place their recyclables out for collection whenever the bag is full. That schedule has not changed – every other Thursday in the West and every other Friday in the East. We have the capacity to more than double the amount of recyclables currently being processed at the Recycling Plant – those internal discussions are ongoing as we seek different ways to manage our waste.

Many of us would be completely surprised by the actual amount of items we recycle – Hazardous Wastes by definition are solid waste materials or a combination of solid wastes which can cause harm to human health or the environment when improperly treated, stored, disposed of or otherwise managed.

For instance some of these Special Waste materials that are also managed, handled, packaged and shipped overseas by the department include:

  • lead acid batteries and household batteries
  • pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers
  • fluorescent tubes, associated ballasts, and compact fluorescent bulbs
  • oil and water based paints
  • acids
  • fuels, oils, greases and all other forms of hydrocarbons
  • asbestos
  • laboratory chemicals
  • poisons, and
  • refrigerants

We will shortly re-launch regular hazardous waste drop off days – a free service to the public – so that there is no need to recklessly dispose of these wastes and harm the environment. As well – bulk waste pick up will be reinstituted in some form as funding was removed for this service some time ago.

So with that back ground and all the positive outcomes noted above – the reality is we are duty bound to reassess the whole question of garbage collection and fully understand the challenges we face in this area. As such I concur with the unanimous recommendation of the leadership team in the ministry that I should extend the once a week collection for a further 9 weeks until the 29th June. During that period we will continue to monitor collection schedules and volumes. Of course I shall report any variances in our stance before the expiry of that period.

Let me end where I began – by thanking the public for adapting to this new collection schedule and those workers in waste management who do an outstanding job in collecting our waste.

The financial savings and benefits demand we take another look at how we do things and that is precisely what we shall do.

Thank you.

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Comments (43)

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  1. nerema says:

    Did he admit they screwed up when they ordered the new bus?

    • drunken ursula says:

      the new bus was ordered by OBA…

    • Well at least we got de bus, Fahy gave that guy $300,000 and got no bus.

      • Mark says:

        What?!? LOL. you are ridiculous! Thanks for making me laugh today.

      • puzzled says:

        Says a guy who has been married three times and does not live in Bermuda.

    • Moojun says:

      It is kind of ironic though; One of the first W&E related changes the PLP brought in when first elected (1998) was to increase trash collection from 1 to 2 pick ups per week, and we all cheered. And then one of the first W&E related changes they pass when elected the second time around (2017) is to reduce it from 2 to 1 trash collections per week.

  2. Dockyard Lackey says:

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Please note he did not state which year, just 29th June. The way he runs things it could well be 2025.

  3. Truth is killin... says:

    Kicking the can down the road. Come June he’ll say Christmas!

  4. Serious Though says:

    Once a week is great! Everybody can start thinking recycling..

  5. Factual says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if these ‘extensions’ eventually became permanent.

    I don’t think it would be so bad if the Government implemented various drop-off stations around the island. Instead of driving to Tynes Bay, I can drive to my closes drop-off and be done with it.

    • Overage says:

      Or do what the woman I saw yesterday do. Stop in the bus layby on Trimingham Hill and dump your household trash next to the garbage can there.

    • Cow Polly says:

      I think drop off sites is an excellent idea and ones that are open 24/7 so you can drop off on your way to or from work. Don’t understand why the dump has to be even closed, the bays are clearly marked with what type of trash should go into each and if you’re not sure, then go when there’s someone on duty between the regular hours of 8 – 6.

  6. Andrew says:

    Surprise surprise! lol

  7. Stevie says:

    You got to be joking if anyone believes whatever minister of the PLP say. More of the same Bermuda had to put up with when the PLP were in power before. Same story, different actors.

  8. jt says:

    Once a week is sufficient. Make it permanent.

  9. Stevie says:

    So. What comes first? Buses & garbage trucks all working or money spent on overseas trips not needed. Same old PLP ethics…none.

  10. Terry says:

    Of course there is going to be an “uptick”.
    Once a week.
    more garbage because of hoarding.

    You can’t make this up.

  11. comfortably numb says:

    Wonder why they needed an inspection team of five rather than one or two. Also can’t understand why a visit to the plant in London wasn’t possible. Surely the entourage travelled back via Gatwick just south of London unless the colonel arranged a private jet from Dunfermline to L F Wade?

  12. wahoo juice says:

    “inherited challenges” were inherited from when his party had their last stint as government and money was being burned at the rate of $2-3B in just a couple years. The PEOPLE have “inherited” a debt that they will not overcome in their lifetime but they do not understand that so who cares I guess.

    Eastend don’t care what you think col. I will take my crap to Tynes Bay like I have been since you took over.

  13. mixitup says:

    Look at the sour grapes crowd… They can’t stand this man, they can’t stand the current Gov’t (like many of us couldn’t stomach the OBA for another term)

    All this man came to do was to update the public on an INHERITED issue, as he promised to do. He made it clear to me where they stood and what progress has been made, made it clear that they will need more time, and this is still not good enough for these specific commentors…LOL This is why you will be paid no attention. Can you not credit the man for anything?? Oh rite, I forgot, you hate him. NEXT.

    • Jus' Wonderin' says:

      Trash wasn’t f#$#$#$d up under the OBA try again sweetie :)

    • wahoo says:

      We do not care what you think.

  14. Zevon says:

    They’ve already decided it’s going to be once a week. This is another case of pretending to “listen” while they’ve already made their mind up.
    Remember Burch and 626-2.

  15. I and I says:

    Not sure why there are negative comments.We have become a lazy throw away society. Recycle what needs to be. Compost Kitchen vegetable scraps where possible. This once a week system seems to be working just fine if we all stick together for the betterment of the environment. It appears the negative comments are coming from the cyber space opposition. Maybe the same ones who are not cooperating with the collection of their garbage.

    • Zevon says:

      “Not sure why the negative comments”?
      Think about it. Eventually you will get it.

  16. Legalgirl says:

    LOL. Summer’s going to be smelly but great for rats and crows!

    • smudge says:

      my point exactly, and yes I recycle everything I can, still have two bags to put out

  17. Um Um Like says:

    We have to keep deceiving you.

  18. Onion Puke says:

    Clearly this is the fault of the OBA and anyone not wearing a lime green item of clothing. Heaven forbid we think the myoptic bungling of the Government be at fault.

  19. Mark says:

    Typical PLP (peoples liars party). Never keep their promises. Thanks 24-12 or whatever those mind numbing, brainwashed numpties say

  20. Smiths says:’s a novel idea….

    Open the public drop off at Tynes Bay earlier (like 7am) and close it later (like 8pm)…and open it all day on Sunday so that those who can, can drop off mid-week to prevent the collection of trash piling up.

  21. PANGAEA says:

    Another taxation double dip.

    A new broom does not always sweep, clean it depends on who is pushing it.

    The sooner we dispose of the trash from rats and the animals the better..

    What are they doing with plastic C of H at the out fall.

    This has become another efficiency issue, workers do as they are told.

    Trash has become an expensive comody as the tourist season decends on us there will be more trash.

    Once a week ? the volume must be enormouse putting added pressure on the staff to cope with the 6 day old stinking trash.

    Why are the workers not given protective clothing?

    Trash is a health issue for everyone during the hot summer.

    The America cup must have created tons of the stuff.

    New hotels will add to the volume.

    Dip #1 Land tax is claimed to pay for trash collection.
    Same tax for one pick up, seems odd to me.

    Dip #2 Import duty on the poduct, plus duty on packaging at the same % rate which goes in the trash.

  22. Oh,I see now says:

    What I can appreciate is ,if this was a trial period then say so ,have some respect for our intelligence.You have just failed a test of transparent governing PLP don’t say it if you don’t mean it…….sigh

    And you call yourself a Labour Party heh heh don’t get me started.
    Why does it always hurt more when it’s your own?

  23. Hmmm says:

    So basically what he is telling us is that they hired 5 more staff, and are doing 1/2 the work… and we are supposed to take it because he says so!! sounds like another ATV situation… If your not ME your opinion means nothing!!

  24. Senior Officiale Mostachio Chihuahua says:

    Aye, de trash situation is horrifico, we in my casa we have so much trash in bags , it pile up, we want to put on the road, but aye, senior we must not do so.

  25. ROGER LAMBERT says:

    I HAVE LIKED THE 1 AREA ONCE A WEEK PICKUPS FOR THE WESTERN ENDS ANYWAY, haven’t been to the east areas. I HOPE THEY ARE SUCCESSFUL THROUGH 29 JUNE & CONTINUE. THANKS FOR IT ALL, PLP, CIVIL SERVANTS & PUBLIC. Maybe continued notice to the public to remind them to get trash out no later than their area’s time.

  26. Dready says:

    Keep voting for incompetence and this will continue!

  27. aceboy says:

    If anyone thinks we will be going back to twice a week collections….I have a bridge to sell you.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Honestly if its saving us money we should keep it to once a week.