Conservatives warn against ‘cap on recycling’ under new wheelie bin proposals for Milton Keynes

But Labour councillor in charge of waste says they're 'talking garbage'.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 12:37 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 12:38 pm

City Conservatives are warning against a ‘cap on recycling’ under the council's new wheelie bin proposals.

They fear residents will be put in a virtual bin bag ‘straitjacket’ under scheme, which is due to start in 2023.

The plan is to scrap the current clear recycling bags and black sacks nd issue each household in MK with four different bins - green for food and garden waste, blue-lidded bins for plastic, metals and glass, red for paper and card, and grey for residual waste.

Tories fear overspill rubbish will be banned

But Tories say the scheme could limit the amount of waste collected as the council will clamp down on 'side-waste', which occurs when residents fill up their wheelie bin and put their rubbish sacks to the side.

They say MK Council guidance currently states: “Please do not place additional waste or recycling to the side of wheeled bins.”

"This will punish families wanting to recycle and that rationing collections would push fly-tipping numbers up even higher locally," said local Tory spokesman for environment and waste, Cllr Dan Gilbert.

He says the wheelie bin pilot has highlighted the difficulty residents face in containing all their waste in the bins provided. A public survey commissioned by MK Council showed that 39% of respondents did not have enough room to put all their waste and recycling in the correct bins, while 45% had to put out extra recycling or rubbish sacks outside of the wheelie bins.

Labour council leader Pete Marland demonstrates the four new wheelie bins to be introduced in MK

The problem is worse for households that have been provided with smaller bin boxes because they cannot fit multiple wheelie bins at their properties with 57% saying they did not have the space., said the councillor.

“Busy households will be worried that the shift to wheelie bins could mean a limit on the amount of waste that can be collected and recycled each week. Wheelie bins could help to prevent litter from split bags, but it is a big step to say you can no longer put bags on the kerb once your wheelie bin is full.

"We’ve seen huge spikes in waste volumes through lockdown and need to ensure our waste policies reflect the changes in people’s lifestyles.

"We are calling on the Labour and Lib Dem partnership to ensure a flexible policy for side-waste. To be the greenest city there should be no cap on recycling.”

But Cllr Lauren Townsend, Labour's Cabinet member for public realm, told the Citizen: “The MK Conservatives are talking garbage as usual. There will be no cap on recycling and it is utterly ridiculous to say there will be."

She added: "Wheelie bins have many benefits, one being bin bags aren’t ripped open or split and this reduces litter, so as up to 80% of household waste can be recycled, our guidance will be to avoid residual black bag side waste.

"As the council rolls out wheelie bins to the whole of MK we will be making sure that if people need more capacity to recycle, they will be able to have it. So to be clear we will ensure that people can recycle as much as they need to and that by using wheelie bins rather than bags for residual waste we’ll reduce litter and boost recycling even further.”