Crackdown aims to drive recycling higher

By Ian Dipple 06/04 Updated: 06/04 00:31

A CRACKDOWN on residents requesting extra rubbish bins will form part of measures to boost the borough's recycling rate.

Up to 20 waste bins are requested every day by residents claiming they have either been stolen or damaged. But an investigation by a panel of councillors into Redditch's falling recycling rate revealed many were bogus, while some people were even resorting to stealing their neighbour's bin to give them extra capacity, rather than increasing the amount they recycle.

Coun Gay Hopkins, chair of the Increasing Rates of Recycling Task and Finish Group, told an executive committee meeting on Tuesday (April 3) it was estimated more than 5,000 extra rubbish bins were issued every year, not only costing the council £93,600 but undermining efforts to drive up recycling.

"It's astronomical and something we have to address. We want people to have a larger recycling bin but if they are requesting another grey bin that goes against everything we are trying to do," she said.

"What people tend to do is ring up and lie and say they have lost their grey bin. So you go and give them another one and then you go out on green bin day and there are only five bins out and then you go on grey bin day and there are 20 but there are the same number of houses."

The worse and best recycling districts in the borough have also been revealed for the first time. Smallwood residents recycle the least, sending over a three week cycle on average just 6.1 kilogrammes per household to be reused, although Central Ward councillor Greg Chance suggested the narrow streets and type of properties in the area were a factor and it may be a question of 'design rather than willingness'. Abbey Park residents recycle the most with 13.2 kilogrammes per household.

The information will be used to raise awareness in areas with low recycling rates. The investigation also found confusion about what could be recycled and fear of being penalised were contributing to the borough's recycling rate falling from more than 32 per cent when fortnightly collections were introduced in 2007/08 to just over 26 per cent now.

"I think people are a bit scared of the bin police, even though they don't exist, and rather than stick something in the green bin and get a black mark they just put it in the grey bin," Coun Hopkins added.

Other suggested measures include putting stickers on green bins which are regularly filled to advertise the fact larger ones are available, asking bin crews to report issues to managers, a media campaign to raise awareness of what can be recycled and targeted work with schools and private landlords.

Street sweepings will in future be processed so they can be recycled instead of landfilled and new dual bins will be considered in public places for both recycling and rubbish.

Top five Redditch recycling areas by average weight in kilogrammes collected per household per cycle

Abbey Park - 13.2

Webheath - 12.8

Oakensahw - 12.5

Feckenham - 12.2

Hunt End - 11.7

Bottom five Redditch recycling areas by average weight in kilogrammes collected per household per cycle

Smallwood - 6.1

Enfield - 6.3

Oakenshaw South - 7.6

Astwood Bank - 8.1

Ipsley - 8.5

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