Families in Walsall have been forced to fork out more than £30,000 on replacement bins, despite hundreds being given to some residents for free, it has emerged.
Householders in the borough have bought 1,805 bins, which cost £18.50 each from Walsall Council, in the last financial year.
However, 843 were exchanged or provided free of charge during the same period of April 2013 and March 2014.The council says they are provided on occasions such as when larger bins are needed due to the size of the household or if containers are deemed too old.
The amount spent by residents on bins was £33,392, they have been asked to pay for replacements for ones which have been stolen or vandalised.
The policy was introduced by the council in 2001 and initially cost £16.50, but increased in 2008 as part of the budget process.
Blakenall councillor Pete Smith has condemned the policy of charging for replacement bins. He said: "These charges are totally unfair. For years I have been complaining about this policy.
"If someone has been negligent it is their fault but if they have had their bin stolen or set on fire and got a crime reference number I don't think it is fair."
Environment chief councillor Lee Jeavons said: "The majority of bins are replaced for a relatively small fee but during last year a number were replaced without charge.
"We exchange smaller bins for larger ones when there are six or more people in a property, or there is someone with special medical needs in the household.
"We also replace bins that are more than 15 years old and are past their useful life. And others are replaced if they have been damaged during collection."
It comes after it recently emerged that the number of 'contaminated' bins across the borough has almost halved in 12 months, following a controversial recycling crackdown.
It was launched in November 2012 and led to thousands of bins not being collected across the borough.
Latest figures revealed from July 2013 to June 2014 there were 41,151 reports of contaminated bins. This compared to of 78,589 during the same period for the previous year.
Council chiefs say the number of bins found with the wrong kind of waste is now less than one per cent.Subscribe to our Newsletter