Milton Keynes is becoming a cardboard city due to the latest clamp down on rubbish collection.
That’s the view of former mayor David Hopkins, who is this week urging the council to sack its policy about only collecting cardboard that is bagged up in recycling sacks.
“Boxes are being left by Serco by the side of the road to blow away or accumulate,” said Councillor Hopkins.
“Eventually the council’s teams will have to be sent to collect the boxes as fly tipped rubbish,” he added.
Although technically cardboard is a recyclable waste and should go in a pink or clear sack, for years a common sense policy prevailed and Serco workers would collected the cardboard if it was simply piled on the top of the sacks.
But weeks ago the contractors were ordered to stop collecting it unless it was cut up and bagged.
The council says it is to prevent the cardboard getting damp, as wet cardboard could “damage the collection vehicles”.
“How could damp cardboard cause damage? It’s crazy,” said one householder.
“Cutting up a large, thick cardboard box and cramming it into a pink sack takes forever – and then the sack is so flimsy that it splits,”he added.
“People are just leaving their cardboard out, Serco refuse to collect it and then it’s left flapping about the streets of MK for weeks.”
Mr Hopkins is now asking the Cabinet member for waste management to review the policy.
“Common sense needs to prevail here,” he said. “No notification was given and this change of policy was applied unilaterally without prior notice.”
Milton Keynes council say only cardboard that is dry and clean can be recycled properly. If it is wet or contaminated it will go to landfill.
The council denies people were not told, sayings it has “always been the case” that cardboard should be bagged up. It is printed on the recycling sacks and explained on the council website. The recent change in Serco refusing to collect cardboard was “communicated” on social media and in leaflets, says the council.
They advise that residents with large amounts of cardboard (ie from flat pack furniture) impossible to fit into pink sacks should ferry it to the local tip.
Meanwhile, some residents have asked why their previously pink recycling sacks have now been changed to clear plastic.
A council spokesman said: “A large number of sacks collected every week in MK contain items that should not be in there such as food waste, dirty nappies or glass. These items can contaminate the other items in the bag making them unfit for recycling so we’re making the recycling bags clear so that any non-recyclable items can be spotted before the bin crews pick them up from the street.”