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Council faces backlash over recycling plan as hundreds of Brent residents sign petition

Opposition to Brent Council’s new recycling plan is growing as frustrated residents call it a “waste of money” and claim it will make it more difficult to recycle. Many residents have been given a blue sack only for card and paper, with collections set to go from weekly to fortnightly.

From next month, residents living in properties with blue-lidded bins will be required to separate their card and paper from other recycling items, such as glass, metal, and plastic, into the new 90-litre sacks. They will then be collected on alternate weeks to go towards the council’s aim of being “carbon neutral by 2030”.

Some residents have hit back at the plan, with one calling it a “hair-brained scheme” derived by Brent Council that will “discourage people from recycling”. They don’t want to keep the “wet and dirty” sacks in their house, with some calling for the plan to be abandoned.

Mary Conroy said: “Brent Council don’t give any serious consideration to anything. This blue bag strategy is as well thought out as the Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) were and the parking fiasco earlier in the summer. They have wasted so much money on some of their hair-brained schemes, implementing them and then having to remove them again.”

She added: “They have asked residents to close the lid of this blue bag so the paper doesn’t get wet but, once emptied, these bags are just going to be thrown in gardens or on the pavement in all weathers. […] Not to mention bringing a dirty wet bag through the house. Mine will be living outside!”

Blue sacks have already been sent out to the relevant homes ahead of it coming into force on October 1 and are expected to be kept inside. More than 5,000 households in the borough took part in a trial of the scheme last year, which the council claims was successful. However, Mary said she “[hasn’t] heard anyone say anything positive about them.”

Council faces backlash over recycling plan as hundreds of Brent residents sign petition Harrow Online
New Blue Recycling Sacks. Around 84,000 properties in the borough will have to use the blue sacks from October 1. Image Credit: Brent Council.

Currently households put all their recycling in one bin, which is collected weekly by the council’s contractor, Veolia. However, the changes will mean residents will need to put cardboard and paper out one week to be picked up and other mixed recycling the next.

Mary said: “My blue bin is collected every week at the moment and is always full, with very little cardboard or paper, so what is going to happen when it’s only collected every two weeks? The whole point of the bag is supposed to be that we recycle more. I think the opposite will be the case because of the fortnightly collections.”

Another resident, Tania Knox, also criticised the “practicality of the product” as there is no set collection time and people are likely at work when it takes place. Tania said: “Unfortunately what will happen is those bags will be left. Winter is arriving and the bag will be blown on the street and it will look untidy.”

There is even a petition signed by nearly 300 people which aims to stop the plan being introduced. It says the scheme will be a “substantial inconvenience” to residents and “will not be remotely feasible to keep up with regular deliveries”.

The new scheme will impact roughly 84,000 properties in the borough. Brent Council says the changes will “increase our recycling rate” as putting waste into ‘single material streams’ is the most effective way to recycle.

Cabinet Member for Environment, Infrastructure, and Climate Action, Cllr Krupa Sheth, said: “We are introducing the new blue sack for card and paper as it has been shown to improve recycling rates from a trial of over 5,000 properties in Brent last year.”

She added: “From the trial we took on feedback and have made the blue sack larger, stronger and weatherproof. Residents will also be able to put large, flat cardboard items next to their blue sack for collection. As with any change we know it will take time to get used to and we will keep looking at the data to see if it does improve the amount of the waste that we produce going to recycling.”