Brent residents are questioning ‘what is the point’ of the council’s new recycling scheme as a video appears to show a bin man throwing all the rubbish in the truck together anyway.
Many households have been given a new 90 litre blue sack only for card and paper, a plan which some have already described as ‘ridiculous’.
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 on October 1 there were already calls for the scheme to be cancelled. A video sent to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) appears to capture a Brent bin man mixing the contents of the blue sack into the main bin and emptying them into the truck.
The plan has received backlash on social media, with many left exasperated at seeing the rubbish get mixed up anyway. A resident on neighbourhood app Nextdoor claims they saw the same thing take place when their rubbish was collected last week.
They said: “We had the first collection of the blue recycling bag today. I noticed they were putting the contents of the bag into the blue bins before throwing the contents into the collection truck as usual. Which begs the question, what was the point of the bag if it all ends up in the same blue bin?”
Another told a similar story. They said: “[…] they emptied the sack into my blue bin then put it all in the truck together. This is a ridiculous idea, not least the sack itself, I don’t know any family that will have enough space in there for two weeks of paper and card, we filled it within 3 days, then what? You have to put it in general waste so less gets recycled. Why not at least [provide] an extra bin!”
Others have criticised the sack for not having enough capacity for the waste anyway. One resident said: “So, it’s Sunday evening, my blue sack is nearly full and there’s nearly two weeks before its first collection.
“Well done Brent Council for introducing a ridiculously impractical and ill thought out cardboard recycling update.”
A petition, signed by more than 400 people, has been submitted directly to the council demanding a return to the single blue bin, as they are already coming apart, taking up lots of room in the house and getting filled up too quickly.
Leader of the Brent Liberal Democrats, Cllr Anton Georgiou, suggests the fact that people are already experiencing issues within the first week is “not surprising”.
He said: “During the trial period, the Liberal Democrats raised concerns that were ignored by the administration and council officers.”
He added: “I feel like we are heading towards some sort of U-turn where an alternative approach will need to be found as I don’t see how this will get resolved otherwise.”
Cabinet Member for Environment, Infrastructure and Climate Action, Cllr Krupa Sheth, said: “Thank you to all residents who have taken part in this change in how we collect your recycling.
“We completely understand people’s frustration at this video, which we hope was a one-off caused by teething problems while crews get used to the new service.”
She added: “We have raised this with our colleagues at Veolia who have assured us that the vast majority of recycling has been collected properly and they are taking steps to ensure this does not happen again.
“I want to reassure residents that this does not undo your efforts as over 23 tonnes of paper and cardboard went to our recycling plant last week. More recycling going to the sorting depot improves our recycling rates, which is better the environment and our planet.”
A Veolia spokesperson said: “Thank you to all Brent residents for their patience whilst we transition to a new separate paper and card service.
“The majority of our collections have already seen a huge increase in good quality paper and card at our recycling centres, which is great news. Our collection crews are also going through further training to ensure that the new service runs smoothly.”