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Pilot scheme to increase recycling rates

Published Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Enfield Council is introducing a pilot scheme to clamp down on people who routinely contaminate their recycling bins - a practice which can cost the borough tens of thousands of pounds a year.

 Research by the council showed that between January and March 2012 around 1,900 households put out a contaminated bin at least once. If the load is not detected, it means the contents of the entire recycling lorry - approximately 10 tonnes - has to be disposed of by incineration or at a landfill site, resulting in far higher disposal costs.

 To date residents have helped Enfield Council save around £2 million by recycling more, and to save money and the efforts of the majority of residents being wasted, the council has agreed to implement a pilot scheme covering up to 40,000 properties which would see refuse collectors stickering the wheeled bins of people who put the wrong items in with their recycling.

 Residents would also get a card advising them which items can be recycled and which items should instead be placed in their wheeled refuse bin. A second lapse would see another sticker placed on the bin and a warning letter sent to the resident and a third case of contamination could result in a resident's bins being removed altogether.

 Enfield Council's Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Chris Bond, said: "Our residents have made a huge contribution to recycling more and helping the council save money and we are immensely grateful for their hard work but a small minority of people are hampering their efforts and this pilot scheme aims to stop that from happening and help us save money and increasing our recycling rates by educating residents about what they should and shouldn't be putting in their recycling bins.

 "We're wasting thousands of pounds a year because of contaminated recycling loads at a time when we are operating under significant financial pressure and we really need to encourage residents to help us reduce this waste. This scheme is about educating residents and encouraging them to help us increase our recycling rates.

 "We estimate that the vast majority of people will respond positively to the initial reminder, we want to give people every opportunity to get their recycling right. But this isn't a laughing matter, contamination is costing all of us tens of thousands of pounds a year we need to take action to deal with the people who willfully refuse to recycle properly, every penny we spend on disposing of rubbish is money we can't spend on other vital frontline services."

The pilot scheme is due to start in August.

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