End in sight for Walsall bins crackdown
A controversial crackdown on recycling that saw bins containing the wrong kind of rubbish go uncollected for weeks will be scrapped under new plans.
As part of the new scheme, residents who do not put the correct waste in their recycling bins will be given a second chance later the same day.
Currently, if binmen in Walsall find 'contaminated' rubbish they will not take the bins until the next available collection date. But council bosses say residents have reacted angrily to being left with overflowing bins.
To solve the problem, collectors will now leave a sticker on bins and then return in the afternoon to give them another chance.
Council leader Sean Coughlan said the authority had listened to complaints from members of the public and changed its approach to waste collection to reflect that.
"We had a situation over the past year where the council used the stick rather than the carrot, and went around fining people and not emptying their bins," he said.
"This is showing the other side of that, educating people and helping them know what they have got to do."
But he added it was still important that people sorted their waste correctly, as failure to do so had a significant impact on council finances
The number of bins 'contaminated' with the wrong kind of rubbish almost halved in the last year following the controversial crackdown. Latest figures reveal from July 2013 to June 2014 there were 41,151 reports of contaminated bins - this compared to 78,589 during the same period for the previous year.
The new system is currently being trialled across 1,000 properties and, if it is judged a success, could be rolled out across the borough.
A report to the council states: "The current working practices mean that on collection day if a recycling crew reject a contaminated bin it is stickered and the resident has to wait until next collection day for the bin to be emptied. The resident will often call the Contact Centre to clarify why the bin was not emptied and a 'recycling encouragement assistant' may then visit to provide advice and assistance, but residents may still have to wait for the bin to be emptied. This causes a great deal of dissatisfaction and makes it difficult for the education team to encourage participation."
Recycling bins in Walsall are emptied first thing in the morning and, under the trial scheme, any contaminated bins are revisited later that same day.
The report continues: "Residents are either spoken to, or literature left stating what action the crew have taken. If the crew encounter minor contamination they will advise the resident how the item should be disposed of, correct the mistake and remove the waste. If the crew encounter major contamination, they will again advise the resident but not empty the bin at the first visit.
"In the afternoon the same crew makes a second visit to empty the grey residual bin. Contaminated green recycling bins, not emptied on the first visit, are now emptied.
"The crew records the properties that have presented minor and major contaminated bins. Once recycling education has been given, adequate support provided to the resident and if no improvement is evident, then the resident can be informed in advance that the bin will not be emptied at the next collection should contamination continue."
The council is trying to meet the Government's target of recycling 50 per cent of waste by 2020. Walsall's recycling rate in 2013/14 was 42 per cent up from 40.4 per cent in the previous financial year.
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