WE WILL NOT EMPTY 'CONTAMINATED' BINS; ONE IN 20 HOUSES HIT IN COUNCIL'S CRACKDOWN ON RECYCLING.
Under scrutiny: Household bins lined up in Walsall.
WALSALL Council has refused to empty one in 20 of the borough's recycling bins due to 'contamination' by regular waste.
The authority announced a controversial zero-tolerance approach to recycling last month - and ordered patrols by 'bin police' to check that the large green wheelie bins are full of paper, plastic and bottles.
Up to 12 council officials have joined the refuse collectors in the last two weeks and placed yellow stickers on bins when they found nappies, takeaway wrappers or general waste mixed in.
Any bin rejected must then be emptied by the householder, with the rubbish taken to the tip.
The council has also issued a leaflet to every household with a picture of 20 items which can be recycled and a list of things which cannot. For example a white plastic ready meal tray can be recycled, but black ones can't.
The Tory-Lib Dem council says it was forced to act because every tonne of recycling earns the council PS20, but every tonne rejected by the recycling contractor costs PS100 in landfill charges.
Labour has called for a review of the service. Labour opposition spokesman Sean Coughlan said: "It seems the council has forgotten who it serves. The people of Walsall, through their council tax, pay for this service but it seems the contractor determines what level of service we get; it's a case of the tail wagging the dog.
"Of course we need to increase the amount of refuse we recycle to avoid paying landfill tax and protect our environment but we also need a flexible service that works for people "Instead of a blank refusal to empty bins, the council should see how it can improve recycling rates and work with the contractor to deliver better outcomes."
But Coun Tom Ansell, portfolio holder for environment in the Walsall Council coalition, said: "We have two weeks of data on recycling collections since November 19. This tells us that an overwhelming majority of 89 per cent residents are recycling properly.
"Every item improperly recycled effectively costs the taxpayer money which is why we are being diligent and residents can help us to do this.
"We would ask people to check the list of 20 items we can recycle on walsall.gov.uk and we'd thank people for their help and co-operation."
OUR SAY: PAGE 18
Conflicting views: Coun Sean Coughlan, left, and Coun Tom Ansell.
What do you think of the council blitz on recycling? Email letters@ birmingham mail.co.uk