North London residents are urging the council to scrap a new recycling scheme that was only introduced at the start of the month. Many Brent households have been given a new blue sack for card and paper, which have been criticised for ‘already coming apart’ due to their ‘poor quality’.
Residents living in properties with blue-lidded bins have been required to separate their card and paper from other recycling items, such as glass, metal, and plastic, into the new 90-litre blue sacks since October 1. Collections have also been reduced from weekly to fortnightly as part of the council’s goal of being ‘carbon neutral by 2030’.
However, just days after its implementation there are already calls for the scheme to be cancelled. A petition has been submitted directly to the council demanding a return to the single blue bin, whilst the plan has also received backlash on social media.
The petition, which was submitted by resident Sahar Shakoor and runs until December 2, suggests public services are ‘getting poorer’ across the borough despite rising council taxes.
Mr Shakoor says: “The stitching is already coming apart and the velcro is of such poor quality it does not stick,”
He adds: “The bags cannot be left out in the rain as they will fill with water without the lid being stuck on properly. In high winds, the bags will fly onto the roads causing hazards for vehicles and pedestrians.”
Disabled resident Christina Chartouni, who has only recently moved to the borough, said she is ‘in shock’ at the new system. Her blue sack has already broken leaving the contents inside ‘soaked’ with nine days still remaining until it is collected.
Christina told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS): “These blue bags are absolutely detrimental to the community and our efforts to recycle. I am disabled and therefore do a lot of my shopping online, so I get a lot of packages. My bag was filled within three days and it’s been sitting outside for two weeks. […] it hasn’t been emptied and won’t be until October 13!”
She added: “The rest of my paper and cardboard has to be stacked. It is blocking access in my house to be able to use my medical equipment and, when I put it outside on collection day as stacks of cardboard, it was not taken as promised. I’ve had to pay private companies way too much to come and clear cardboard that should be picked up by the council and it is ridiculous.”
Further criticism has been raised regarding the expectation that the sacks be stored in people’s homes outside of collection times. A resident on neighbourhood app Nextdoor asked: “A bag can get peed on by dogs and then we are expected to take it indoors for two weeks. Are you sure that this has been trialled and was a success?”
Cabinet Member for Environment, Infrastructure, and Climate Action, Cllr Krupa Sheth, said the new blue sack has been shown to ‘improve recycling rates’, following a trial of more than 5,000 properties last year.
In response to feedback from the trial, Cllr Sheth claims the sack has been made ‘larger, stronger and weatherproof’ and residents can also ‘put large, flat cardboard items next to their blue sack for collection’.
She added: “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.”