‘No light at the end of the tunnel’: Salford landlord embarrassed about volume of litter in back alleyway

  • Salford landlord struggles to clear up the alleyway behind her Kersal property
  • She has attempted to brighten up the area with DIY planters
  • She is calling upon the council to do more to clear up waste
  • Councillor attributes Salford’s litter problem to bin collections every three weeks

An alleyway in Salford that was transformed into a community space is now blighted with litter.

Landlord Bertha Huayllani describes the alleyway as “embarrassing” despite her initiative to turn the area into a community space.

The alleyway, behind the properties on Milnthorpe Street in Charlestown, became the subject of a Facebook group set up by Mrs Huayllani called Green Yards: Reduce, Re-use and Recycle.

Bertha Huayllani has tried to brighten up the alleyway behind her property on Milnthorpe Street, Charlestown

Through the group, the Salford landlord tries to encourage residents to take pride in their surroundings, but she says litter proves to be an “ongoing problem” in the area.

Earlier this month, a pile of black binbags and household furniture were left in the alleyway.

After sharing a picture of the waste to Facebook, Mrs Huayllani encouraged local residents and other landlords to familiarise themselves with appropriate waste disposal procedures.

Black binbags and furniture often litter the alleyway

The amount of rubbish is “very usual” for the area, according to Mrs Huayllani.

“It’s almost like rubbish is something we have to live with,” she said.

“There are landlords who just take their rubbish bins out. There is no way sofas, fridges, beds are the tenants doings. It’s the landlords.”

Mrs Huayllani is calling upon the council to act.

She said: “We need all of us to work together, really. It takes everyone to tango here, not just two. The council, the tenants, the housing providers, landlords, and private residents.”

In particular, she is asking for resources to be allocated based upon demand.

“Instead of sending the pink and the brown bins, which people are not utilising it how they should, they should send more black bins,” she said.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Andrew Walters, who represents Kersal and Broughton Park, is particularly passionate about the litter problem in Salford.

He attributes household waste build up to the three-weekly black bin collection, which was implemented Salford-wide in 2017 following successful pilots from 2015 onwards.

He said: “There’s no country in the world that’s got a collection three-weekly. Mainly, its once a week, twice a week. Other parts of the UK are fortnightly, which is also bizarre.

“So having a three-weekly collection is by definition going to cause a big build-up of rubbish.”

Councillor Andrew Walters
Councillor Andrew Walters is passionate about reducing the amount of litter in Salford. Photo by Tova Schprecher

Councillor Walters also highlighted that his ward is home to a high proportion of larger households which therefore produce more household waste.

However, these households are allocated the same 240-litre black bin that smaller households receive.

“Larger households, those over six residents, can apply to have a waste awareness officer visit, go through their rubbish bin and make sure they’re recycling, and potentially give them a 360 litre bin.

“But it’s quite a humiliating experience having to have somebody going through your rubbish bin.”

He added: “Larger families are being discriminated against. If they want to get a bigger bin, they have to go through a process that smaller families don’t need to do, and even if they do, they’re not really getting enough.”

Some residents are now paying for commercial bins to manage their household waste.

Salford bins
Bins for a household in Salford

Councillor Walters said: “Once you’ve done all your recycling, and you’ve got your bigger bin, if you can’t afford to pay for a private service and nor should you, and you don’t necessarily have a car – not everyone drives to the dump to drop things off – then what are you supposed to do?

“There’s a limit to what you can do. So yes, that’s going to result in overflowing bins.”

Mrs Huayllani’s efforts to clean up the alleyway are unceasing, though she acknowledges that she isn’t doing this for herself.

She said: “It’s not just about me, I have one property. Actually, it’s about the people there.”

Her partner Dave has previously built colourful wooden planters, and plans to improve the area continue.

Mrs Huayllani’s partner made DIY wooden planters to brighten up the alleyway

Next month, a tyre-planter making session will be held in an effort to be ‘resourceful, creative, and re-use items to embellish our alleyway’.