Kirklees Council Delays Further Roll-Out Of Green Bin Crackdown

A bin sticker placed on a bin in Commonside, Batley, on June 12. It was emptied a day later.

Kirklees Council has delayed the further roll-out of its controversial policy of impounding green bins from residents who contaminate recycling with “illegal” non-renewable waste.

It has seized more than 1,300 bins in South Kirklees as part of its crackdown, which began on April 1.

But the scheme, which was set to start in North Kirklees on May 27 and run until July 26, has been delayed.

Consequently no bins have yet been impounded in the north of the borough.

The authority spent £80,000 on 12 advisors to check the contents of residents’ green bins.

The crackdown involves advisors checking bin contents and placing yellow warning stickers on bins containing non-recyclable items.

If residents ignore the warning their bin can be confiscated. It can be returned after six months – but only if they apply.

Senior Labour councillor Naheed Mather, the Cabinet member for Greener Kirklees, said removing bins from residents was “a last resort”.

And following a negative response to the policy she said the council was “taking stock” prior to a wider roll-out of the scheme.

Some bins in North Kirklees have actually been issued with a warning sticker but the bins themselves were later collected and emptied.

A council spokesman said the stickers were not part of its policy, which dates back to 2011.

“The campaign has not yet begun in the North of Kirklees,” he said.

“The stickers have been in operation for a number of years as part of the council’s normal process so any stickers put on bins in the north are not part of the campaign.”

Binmen who expected to collect the bins on their next fortnightly round found they had already been emptied.

A spokesman said: “The lads don’t know who collected them.

“They haven’t done it themselves and they’ve not done it in overtime but those bins have been emptied.

“Collection possibly took place by some pool of labour during the regular four-day week. The contaminated bins will have gone in with grey waste.”

There was confusion last month when red warning stickers appeared on grey waste bins in the Littletown area.

The stickers advised that bins had not been emptied because they contained garden waste.

The stickers also advised residents to contact the council for a free garden waste collection.

Kirklees Council responded swiftly saying the stickers were old and had not been used “in years”.

It added: “We’re not checking grey bins.”

When the advisors’ temporary contract ends the monitoring role will be filled by regular binmen, prompting concern from union chiefs that refuse workers will become the target of residents’ ire.

The seizing of green bins has already led to angry reactions.

In Slaithwaite a female advisor was confronted by an resident who removed a yellow warning sticker from a bin and stuck it onto her forehead.

And in Rawthorpe a bin wagon was blockaded by locals who demanded refuse workers empty green bins that had been left behind on a previous collection.

The incidents prompted the council to urge members of the public not to abuse its staff.

Last month Clr Mather said the crackdown had had “a tremendous amount of success” with the authority recycling 45-85 additional tonnes every week – up to 17 full bin lorries – in Huddersfield.

She added: “The campaign we have run has proved successful in the south of the borough and we are taking stock, and seeing what we need to change to ensure that we have an even greater impact in the north of the borough when we roll out our approach there shortly.”

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