By Tony Earnshaw Local Democracy Reporter
A PETITION has been set up in reaction to Kirklees Council’s recycling policy.
It calls on the authority to broaden what can be recycled in its green bins as part of its contract with waste operator Suez.
As of yesterday afternoon (Thursday) the campaign, created by Liversedge resident Rachael Thomas on the website 38degrees, had received 3,200 signatures.
It comes at a time when the council’s policy of impounding green bins from residents who contaminate recycling with “illegal” waste has made national headlines.
The council has been tasked by the government to improve its lacklustre recycling rate which, at 27 per cent, falls well below the national average of 45 per cent.
In her petition entitled ‘Recycling in Kirklees’ Rachael calls for a review of items that can be placed in green bins.
She writes: “As it stands, only four types of recyclable packaging (paper, plastic bottles, clean tins/cans and empty aerosols) can be recycled within Kirklees by their chosen partner Suez.
“This is diabolical compared to other councils in the vicinity – eg Calderdale allow 15 common items and Wakefield 16 recyclable products.”
Coun Lisa Holmes (Con, Liversedge and Gomersal), said it was time for the council to re-think its “knee-jerk” policy.
The confiscation policy was initiated as far back as 2011 but was only implemented this year. The council launched its crackdown on April 1. It was designed to encourage residents to recycle better and to educate people as to what can and cannot be put in a green bin.
After first being rolled out in south Kirklees, resulting in the seizure of 1,341 bins over a six-week period, it has now been introduced in the north of the borough.
The council has reported success with the project. The borough is now recycling 45-85 additional tonnes every week in Huddersfield – roughly the equivalent of 17 full bin lorries.
Coun Holmes commented: “This may have been a knee-jerk reaction after someone asked ‘What can we do?’
“They’ve remembered the policy and have resurrected it.
“They’d never used it and then they pull it out of the drawer in 2019 and, all of a sudden, start doing all this.”
Coun Holmes said yellow warning stickers had appeared on green bins in her ward – the first stage in the council’s crackdown on contaminated waste.
Residents are given the opportunity to remove illegal items and re-present their bin for the next fortnightly collection.
If illegal items still remain on the second occasion, the bin is impounded. Residents can apply to have it returned after six months.
Coun Holmes added: “The council has massively alienated a lot of people who were genuinely trying to do recycling properly.
“They are already stickering bins in my ward. I am furious.
“My residents are well annoyed. What kind of a numpty would resurrect a policy like this? It beggars belief.”
Liberal Democrats on the council have called for a green bin amnesty. They have criticised the confiscation policy as “confrontational” and warned that it can only get worse.
Rachael Thomas’s petition can be found at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/recycling-in-kirklees.
Rogue yoghurt pot lands Andy in bin bother
In Gomersal, one man who received a yellow sticker emptied his green bin and photographed the contents to indicate the offending item – a yoghurt pot.
Andy Kennedy, 57, of Oxford Street, found the solitary yoghurt pot – which cannot be recycled – in his bin last week.
“I don’t eat yoghurt, so it wasn’t even my rubbish,” he said. “That’s been put in my bin by somebody else.
“I am seriously annoyed. I’ll put the bin out again for collection but if it goes, it goes. I’m not bothered.
“I’m disgusted by the confiscation policy. It’s a joke.”