7th Dec, 2016

Strict bin men rules put fed-up Solihull residents off recycling

Solihull Editorial 7th Aug, 2016 Updated: 24th Oct, 2016

BIN MEN in Solihull have come under fire from frustrated residents this week after recycling bins have gone uncollected on account of them being ‘contaminated’.

The Observer has been inundated with letters and emails from residents complaining refuse collectors have failed to collect their recycling bins because of issues ranging from the ‘wrong’ kind of plastic was placed in the bins, food containers were not clean, or a rogue crisp packed had found its way into the bin without the homeowner’s knowledge.

Last week, Shirley resident Tony Knight wrote into the Observer complaining of the complexities of the council’s recycling guidelines after his brown recycling bin had gone uncollected.

“Are we expected to be material scientists?” Mr Knight wrote.

“How the hell does the average person distinguish between the recyclability of a soap dispenser container and the spring operated pump that dispenses the soap?”

The council’s current recycling guidelines include food cardboard food boxes and egg boxes; drink cartons such as juice, milk and soup; household plastics such as drinks bottles, shampoo bottles, cleaning bottles, make-up cleanser bottles and washing up liquid bottles; food trays and tubs (e.g. fruit punnets, trays from microwave meals); and yoghurt pots among a list of recyclable items.

However, on a separate list of items which will result in the bin not being emptied, ‘hard plastics i.e. CDs, DVDs, toys or sweet tubs’ is listed – something which has caused headaches among numerous residents unsure of what constitutes a ‘hard plastic’.

Under the council’s rules, its recycling partner Amey will not empty bins that contain ‘excluded items’ – leaving them until the following collection day, which can be up to fortnight later.

Homeowners are then left with a leaflet reminding them of the items allowed in each bin, though they are given no indication which specific ‘excluded item’ on the list was found in their bin.

Leaflet left on ‘contaminated’ bins.

And there are concerns the rules and regulations could turn residents, many of whom have grown frustrated with the situation, away from recycling altogether.

Councillor Ken Hawkins, cabinet member for environment, housing and regeneration, said: “I’d like to congratulate residents for their efforts as the amount of household waste we recycle is increasing year on year in Solihull.

“There’s understandably still some confusion and I’d encourage residents to check what can and can’t be recycled in Solihull by visiting www.solihull.gov.uk/wasteandrecycling.

“A good tip at the moment is – if in doubt, leave it out – if you’re not sure whether it should go in your recycling, put it in your general waste instead.”