Bin buddies, Stan the Can and binspectors have all been used as part of a huge drive to get people in a city to recycle.
But now recycling stations across Wolverhampton will close within two months as the cash-strapped local authority battles to save millions.
All 31 of the so-called ‘bring sites’ currently located outside pubs, supermarkets, shops and other public premises will be scrapped from March 31, with the first disappearing towards the end of February.
Wolverhampton City Council says the move will save it £110,000, helping towards the £123 million in cuts it needs to make over the next five years.
Bosses say the recycling bins, many of which have been in place since the 1990s, are underused and have become ‘redundant’ thanks to kerbside recycling.
But critics say the decision conflicts with the council’s message of encouraging recycling, at a time when some residential bins are not being collected because waste has not been properly sorted.
Council spokesman Tim Clark said: “Since 2012, people have been able to put everything into one bin rather than sort it separately. Ever since then, the use of the recycling ‘bring-sites’ across the city has dramatically declined.
“The sites are becoming redundant due to kerbside recycling. If people have excess recycling at home, we will collect it from the kerbside as long as it is put out in an open box or clear bag.” Signs have now gone up at the affected sites, warning customers of the decision and advising them to use the remaining tips at Anchor Lane and Shaw Road.
Among the facilities to be axed are those at Waitrose in Marston Road, Asda in Waterloo Road, and Sainsbury’s in Bentley Bridge Park.
The Grapes pub, in Moseley Road, Bilston, will also lose its bins.
Owner Katie Fletcher said: “It’s disgusting. They are emptied every week and they are always full. It shows they are used. I don’t want them gone. We get a lot of customers who walk here to use them – old age pensioners who come with their trolleys. A customer came in and said yesterday, ‘Did you know they are removing the bins?’ I had no idea.
“There’s certain people that don’t recycle. Then the bins are left on the kerb all week.
“We are just fed up of the council. Recycling does make money for them. They are cutting down in the wrong areas.”
The council introduced the bring sites – each comprising five large recycling bins for newspapers and magazines, glass bottles, and drinks cans – in the 1990s, before the city had a kerbside recycling service. At the height of the project there were 106 bring sites. That number was cut to the current 31 after kerbside recycling was introduced in 2006.