Council hires snoopers to go through people's bins

Claims dirty recycling costs it a fortune

Updated: 
B0K7HJ Man outdoors pulling garbage bin. Image shot 2007. Exact date unknown.taking the garbage out.Hull City Council is spending hundreds of thousands of pounds to snoop on residents to make sure they recycle properly.

According to an investigation by the Sun, council leaders have voted to spend £30,000 on an awareness campaign to make sure people put the right things in the recycling bin, and clean them first.

Two staff were hired last year to pick through the contents of people's bins, and residents who fail to rinse out containers properly are set to be packed off for re-education in a programme costing £50,000 a year.

The council says that it incurs a charge if more than 15% of recyclable rubbish is contaminated, and that it's losing £50,000 per month in penalties as a result.

"Hull City Council's recycling contractor is currently experiencing high levels of incorrect materials entering the recycling plant. Because of this our blue bin crews have to be extra vigilant in identifying unacceptable materials," the council says.

"If your bin contains items that are not allowed in it, it will be tagged and it will not be emptied. Once the wrong materials have been removed we will empty the bin on your next collection."

Repeated offences, it says, will mean losing the recycling bin altogether; it's already taken blue bins away from more than 2,000 locals who it says have abused the system.

Unsurprisingly, many people believe that the council's measures will only make things worse.

"We'll just see more fly-tipping and people chucking recycling into their household waste and already overflowing street bins," council leader John Fareham tells the Sun.

As one resident comments on Twitter, "Albert Einstein is alive and well in Hull City Council."

And it's not as if Hull City Council has a perfect record in dealing with rubbish itself. Local residents are constantly complaining that dog mess bins are full to overflowing, for example.

Just a couple of weeks ago, it told wheelchair-bound Dennis Gleadow that his bins are too full for council staff to empty, and told him that he'd have to do it himself.

And, around the same time, we reported on the case of Katie Curtis, whose bin was left unemptied for six months; a computer glitch meant her complaints were ignored.

In the circumstances, as refuse chief John Black admits, "It does not go down well with the public having a kind of 'Rubbish Police' roaming around the streets trying to catch people."

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