There have been renewed calls for a North London council’s ‘ridiculous’ new recycling scheme to be scrapped, with nearly 3,000 residents having now signed the petition. Opposition councillors are calling for Brent Council to suspend the roll out while an investigation is carried out.
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”.
A petition demanding an end to the blue sacks has been signed by 2,951 residents at the time of publication, with concerns raised over the “poor quality” of the material and having to leave them out in the wind and rain. Opposition councillor, Sunita Hirani, has now called for an independent report into the scheme’s roll out and its financial implications.
In a question to the Cabinet Member for Environment, Infrastructure and Climate Action, Cllr Krupa Sheth, Cllr Hirani said: “It does not appear that this scheme has been properly thought through and should therefore be suspended until a full investigation and report can be provided”.
Residents have taken to social media in their droves to rant about the scheme, with those fed up with the ‘ridiculous blue bag recycling fiasco’ being urged to sign the petition.
Whilst there is support for introducing a more efficient recycling scheme, many have suggested the current system ‘just does not work’. Neighbourhood app Nextdoor is awash with complaints about the practicality of the bags, as well as concerns that their bins have not been emptied.
One said: “[They] never thought about the foxes coming along and making more mess, our street has more rubbish on it. They should have given out another bin. Also it says don’t get it wet as though anyone is going to keep this hideous bag inside. I don’t have the room and with all the rain we’ve had.”
Another added: “Not only all the above I agree with but also my blue recycling bin has not been emptied; they only took the blue bag and the kitchen bin. There is no notice as to why.”
The switch to fortnightly collections is estimated to save £1.2m per year on annual disposal costs for waste when compared to the previous weekly collection, according to the council. The service will continue to be monitored in order to “assess the impact of the service change” on recycling and savings targets.
In response to the concerns raised by residents, the council claims the blue sacks are weighted at the bottom to stop them being blown away and are waterproof when the lid is sealed with the velcro straps. They can also be folded up and stored inside or outside as long as they are put out on bin day. If the bag is full and residents are advised that they can order an additional bag for free if there’s is full.
Cllr Sheth said there has already been a 50 per cent increase in the tonnage of paper and cardboard collected since the introduction of the scheme but further data will take at least 12 weeks to “spot any additional trends”. She added: “It is important to note that recycling, even if rejected due to high contamination, does not go to landfill; any rejections are sent to an energy recovery facility.”