More than 24,000 bins went uncollected in Wolverhampton over the past year because residents put the wrong items out to be recycled, it has emerged.
Recycling bins containing the wrong rubbish have been left at the roadside by binmen across the city.
Residents have had stickers placed on their ‘contaminated’ black bins and also received cards through their doors for trying to throw away items, such as nappies, which cannot be recycled.
They have then been told to remove the offending items before putting their recycling bins back out for the next collection in two weeks’ time. Critics today said the moves were “not helpful” and urged a shift away from “the culture of bin police”.
Last year Wolverhampton City Council gave homes a new, smaller wheelie bin for non-recyclable rubbish and asked everyone to put their recycling into the older, larger black wheelie bin, a move that did away with boxes and bags.
New figures released by the council show that between March 2012 and February 2013, a total of 24,378 bins were not collected due to them being “contaminated”.
Wolverhampton City Council spokesman Tim Clark said: “Between March 2012 and February there were 2.6 million black bin collections in the city. Of that, less than one per cent were not collected due to contamination. We have seen a definite improvement as people have got more used to what can go in their bins. We had 3,932 contaminated bins in March 2012 compared to 2,106 in February 2013.”
Mr Clark said that binmen would only take action if they spotted something in the bin that was not recyclable.
He added: “The card posted through people’s doors advises the households about what can and cannot be recycled.”
He said that once the offending item has been removed from someone’s rubbish they are allowed to put extra rubbish out to be collected the following week, providing it is placed sensibly next to their bin.
“Generally speaking, the people of Wolverhampton have embraced co-mingling recycling and for the tiny proportion of households this has affected we are trying to inform people about what can be recycled,” he said.
Tory opposition councillor Jonathan Yardley said: “We need to move away from the culture of bin police. It’s not helpful and it just makes people feel paranoid. It’s more trouble than it’s worth and can put people off recycling in the long run.”
Earlier this year the council announced radical plans to encourage more people to recycle, including entering rubbish into raffles for the chance to win prizes.