THE cost to the taxpayer of replacing faulty brown recycling bins has been revealed while Solihull council said 56,000 more could split.
Cabinet member for environment and housing Tony Dicicco told councillors at a full council meeting last night the cost of replacing 13,461 wheelie bins has been around £85,000.
As we reported, a ‘manufacturing fault’ was uncovered in the borough’s 76,000 plastic brown bins distributed in March 2015.
Solihull council has received around 20,000 requests for new bins since that date.
It also tweeted a message today explaining that, in some cases, the 20-day window for residents to receive replacement bins could take longer.
The council says the cost of the replacement bins will be covered by MGB – a wheelie bin manufacturer.
But additional costs include the high frequency of calls received at the council’s contact centre, additional delivery crews, the cost of producing and distributing health and safety stickers and managing the backlog of recyclable waste which has not been collected due to health and safety concerns.
Green councillor Tim Hodgson said the council’s call centre has been receiving more than 1,000 calls in a single day due to complaints about the bins – an unprecedented demand.
As we reported, angry residents have spoken out over severe build-ups of recyclable waste as bin men suddenly refused to take collections last month.
Coun Hodgson said: “I am shocked the Conservative run Solihull council has failed to act quickly enough to resolve the split brown bin fiasco affecting thousands of residents across Solihull.
“Last month, the council suddenly stopped collecting split brown bins for health and safety reasons, but failed to tell residents. “Green Party Councillors ensured a frequently asked questions page was put up on the council website and stickers placed on the damaged brown bins to inform residents of why their bins aren’t being emptied.
“I totally appreciate this is a manufacturing fault, covered by warranty, but the way this has been handled is a disgrace.”
Liberal Democrat councillor Ade Adeyemo crunched the numbers for the potential cost of replacements for all the borough’s 76,000 faulty bins.
He claimed on Twitter this could amount to around £450,000 of tax-payers’ money – although the council could not yet provide a figure.
Coun Dicicco said: “We have taken a number of proactive steps to help meet the demand and minimise the impact on residents. “This includes mobilising additional crews for delivery of replacement bins and placing information stickers on affected bins.
“We are also making arrangements to supply clear sacks to affected properties to enable residents to continue to recycle while they wait for their replacement bin.
“These clear sacks are currently available at all Solihull libraries and walk-in centres, and residents can also use woven shopping bags or plastic boxes in the interim.”