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Tough new recycling rules sees binmen refusing to collect bins in Lincolnshire

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: October 27, 2012

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Bin men have refused to collect rubbish from hundreds of homes under a tough new recycling regime.

Refuse collectors in North Kesteven have rejected a total of 705 "green" bins since October 8.

It comes after the district council changed its recycling contractor.

Bin men are now being told to inspect household rubbish and leave any load which breaches the strict new guidelines.

The authority confirmed "a handful" of residents have complained about the change.

But the Taxpayers' Alliance has hit out at the new policy, which came into force on October 8.

Earlier this year, NKDC awarded its refuse collection contract to Leeds-based HW Martin Waste.

The council previously paid for the bins to be collected, but HW Martin is now paying the council and making money by selling on salvageable waste materials such as glass, paper and metals.

The decision to go with the company is understood to have saved NKDC hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Under the new policy, recycling bins are being inspected vigorously before being emptied to make sure they do not contain any contaminating items.

In the first week of the new regime, NKDC's refuse collectors left 283 bins without being emptied – an average of 56 per day.

Mark Taylor, NKDC's head of environment and public protection, said: "We were in a fortunate position where the contractor was willing to pay us money to take waste off our hands.

"HW Martin have to make money off the waste by selling on materials, from card and paper to plastic and metals, so it has to be of a quality that enables them to do that.

"But if all the paper and card is contaminated then it's not going to have a value.

"That's why it's more of an imperative that residents make sure their recycling is clean.

"We've been paying people for the privilege of taking away waste, but the material has a real value when it's in good condition.

"So now we're contractually obliged to make sure it's the best it can be.

"If we hadn't made that saving, which is a six-figure sum, then it would have impacted directly on people's council tax."

The district council – which has won praise for the amount of rubbish it recycles – admits it expects to see an increase in the amount it sends to landfill.

Councillor Geoff Hazelwood, executive board member with responsibility for recycling, said that if a bin is not collected, residents will have to remove the offending item in time for the next collection.

The Taxpayers' Alliance has hit out at the new recycling policies.

Robert Oxley, the group's campaign manager, said: "Lincolnshire residents pay an incredible amount in council tax and for that they should at least be able to expect their bins to be emptied."

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  • bill2b  |  October 31 2012, 10:05PM

    The ridiculous thing is that they stopped the staff at the Great Northern Terrace tip from selling off the old bikes, and any other stuff that buyers were interested in. So now instead of getting a fiver or a tenner for a perfectly usable bike they just sell it for scrap for less, surely selling the bike on to a needy individual is the ultimate recycling? OK they would have to take away the tip workers pocket money and keep it to pay the council chiefs expenses but it has to be better than what they are doing.

    |   5
  • Oldernwiser  |  October 31 2012, 8:14PM

    Oh dear Roadsource ...... one has to see the maths in this: Imagine: Council needs additional revenue of £100 to continue to provide the same services and level of services. Council could put up everybody's tax to get that £100 (therefore council tax payers have to fund the complete £100) BUT: Council manages to sell the 'recycling service' for £50. Council now only has to collect £50 from tax payers. Tax payers don't get a reduction, but the have a smaller increase than they otherwise would have had ..... (which my dad, being of the generation he was, would have called an Irishmans pay rise). And, for that smaller increase tax payers have the same services. Which has to be applauded, don't you think ..... and even tho' we might all get very hot under the collar and even tho' we might all dream of getting a reduction in council and the same level of service at the same time, we know it's just not possible, don't we? Tough tho' it is ....

    |   1
  • Lincolnblue  |  October 30 2012, 3:24PM

    I predict a future story where the Council complain we're not recycling enough, and have found that people are putting too much recyclable rubbish in the ordinary bin so they can be sure all their rubbish will be taken away. I suppose it would be churlish to point out that HW Martin's made £4m profit after tax last year, as making money from our council taxes is their priority after all.

    |   6
  • Roadscource  |  October 30 2012, 10:59AM

    "If we hadn't made that saving, which is a six-figure sum, then it would have impacted directly on people's council tax" Yes it never happens the other way round though does it Mark Taylor? No it doesnt ! You never look at anything the Council does that wastes money until it hits YOUR pocket. Never have we received a reduction in Council Tax.

    |   5
  • Pete67  |  October 30 2012, 8:57AM

    Well there's one thing for sure it will always cost us more and more to get less and less. At least in 1963 recycling to me meant going back home on my 10 bob secondhand pushbike.

    |   6
  • Marbo1  |  October 30 2012, 8:14AM

    "Propaganda?? Strewth.... do you believe that the moon landings were mocked up in a grain silo in Ancaster?" I think you've got conspiracy mixed up with propaganda there Bob, stick to praising the council. This is a private company providing a service they should have allowed for the fact that people wouldn't clean rubbish to the desired levels, come up with a solution for this and adjusted the amount they PAY NKDC accordingly. Its just bad business if you ask me!

    |   5
  • dother8thing  |  October 29 2012, 8:36PM

    I have a pretty good idea how councils work in certain areas, and for knowing this I consider myself well within my rights to have a downer on them. Putting that aside however, I would really like to see what would happen if our councils, just once, called the government's bluff. Here's some more of my opinion, assumptions, guesswork or whatever you'd like to call it (I'm won't bother checking if its fact). Any savings made by the council, for example increased fine revenue or recycling in this instance, will not result in any reduction of council tax. It will however, be matched with an equal or greater amount of reduction in government grant.

    |   5
  • Bob_Ovett  |  October 29 2012, 7:57PM

    It wouldn't be a nice place would it? I take it by your tone that you think that this is what I want? This isn't the case, it's the opposite in fact. What I object to is factless council bashing which is what I read your intitial comment as.

    |   -9
  • dother8thing  |  October 29 2012, 7:30PM

    That's it! The Department for Communities and Local Government could implement special measures. They could possibly, as you say, close down the library, then following that, close down every other amenity that makes a place desirable to live in. Then, reduce the level of services to a point where nobody in the right mind would want to remain in such a deprived area. In fact, a massive percentage of the population would sell-up. What would be the consequences of this then?

    |   4
  • Bob_Ovett  |  October 29 2012, 7:18PM

    Well - councils are not allowed to go bankrupt by law so DCLG would probably take over just shy of that or implement special measures.

    |   -3