Canterbury Council are threatening a crackdown on rogue recyclers following a spate of incorrect items found in wheelie bins.
Householders across the Canterbury district have been warned blue and red-lidded recycling bins will not be collected if “contaminated” waste such as “festering food and dirty nappies” is found.
The council has decided to make the move in response to a number of bin trucks having their entire loads “incinerated” as residents mix household rubbish with recyclables, or even just paper and card with bottles and plastics.
A new scheme began this week in a bid to drive up recycling rates, with a tag left on contaminated bins explaining why they were not emptied. The new policy applies to blue and red bins, which both carry recyclable waste. Any found to contain “wrong items” will not be emptied.
But the scheme has been branded “heavy-handed” as refuse workers snoop inside bins before deciding whether to empty them.
The new rules have been met with a mixed reaction from residents, with many recognising the need to improve recycling, but arguing the crackdown will be counter-productive.
Cllr Charlotte Cornell, the authority’s cabinet member responsible for recycling, said “Our rates have been low when compared to our neighbouring councils and to the national average for several years now. They have all been rejecting contaminated bins for some time. Our biggest issue is paper and card finding its way into the blue bin, but also food waste too”.
The council came in for criticism last summer when bin men were filmed emptying recycling from blue and red bins into the same container. Their actions were caught on camera on three separate occasions by people living in Elham Road near Wincheap.
One of the residents said it made a “mockery of our diligence in separating it all”.
Canterbury’s criticism is similar to residents living in Tonbridge and Malling. Residents in the North Kent district also found their plastic and paper waste all being put into the same refuse vehicle, despite being asked to separate it before collection.
One angry resident said “It makes no sense for us to divide the waste, only for the binmen to chuck it all into the same lorry. It’s a waste of time. We may as well put plastics and paper into the same green bin.”