A GREEN bin crackdown on Kirklees residents has cost the council £80,000 – but it has led to an additional 45-85 tonnes of waste being recycled every week.
The news follows the launch of a council campaign to help residents understand what can and cannot go in their green bin.
Since April advisors have been accompanying refuse crews to check the contents of green bins in South Kirklees. They will continue to do so until May 25.
Then from May 27 to July 26 they will focus on North Kirklees, and may be joined by ward councillors in some areas.
A yellow sticker is placed on bins containing any ‘wrong’ items. Advisors then contact households before the next scheduled bin collection to explain why a sticker was given and what needs to happen to address this.
But the scheme has not proved popular with residents, some of whom have had their green bins confiscated and it is not yet known how many bins have been seized.
The council has been accused of using advisors to “snoop” on people’s recycling, and of not being up front about seizing bins.
Residents can apply to have their bins returned after six months. The council has not clarified whether it will charge a fee or impose a fine.
The leader of the Green group, Coun Andrew Cooper, said he and his colleagues would not be assisting advisors.
“We are more than happy to help householders who have had their bins taken away to see what we can do to get them replaced,” he said.
“That’s a better use of our time. We are not going to be rifling through people’s bins. If Labour councillors want to do that then that’s up to them.”
Now the Conservative group has followed suit.
Asked if Tory councillors would be joining refuse workers on the rounds, group leader Coun David Hall (Liversedge and Gomersal) was unequivocal.
He responded: “Certainly not. I should hope elected members have better things to be sorting out for their constituents than their rubbish.
“Labour councillors would be better occupied ditching their disastrous tip restrictions and tackling the consequential increase in fly-tipping.
“Recycling rates have plummeted under Labour stewardship.
“The way to better recycling is better recycling facilities, greater opportunities to recycle more products and better information for residents.”
The council says its crackdown aims to improve Kirklees’ recycling rate which, at 27 per cent, falls well below the national average of 45 per cent.
Recycling an extra 45-85 tonnes a week means the waste is not sent to landfill or burnt.
Coun Naheed Mather, cabinet member for communities and environment, said the policy of using advisors to check bins was not new and actually began in 2015, with four advisors.
However the initiative has been stepped up, with the council setting on a further eight advisors, as Kirklees faces up to its poor recycling rates as well as the knowledge that around 40 per cent of green bin contents are contaminated by food waste, nappies and other bagged waste.
She said that contamination “has remained high over the last two years.
“This is not only damaging for the environment but it also comes at a cost to the council.”
She added: “People might think that removing a green bin or not emptying it will mean we recycle less but actually it’s already having the opposite effect.
“When someone puts something which can’t be recycled in a green bin, it contaminates everything else in the wagon once it’s collected.
“This basically means that everyone else’s efforts to recycle are completely lost as it all then has to be treated as general waste.
“By removing those bins that are contaminated or not emptying them it means the rest of the load can now be recycled.
“Our recycling rates are simply not good enough and we must do better.
“We need to take recycling and how we deal with waste very seriously. That’s exactly what we’re doing here.”