Long-awaited rolls of recycling sacks are being delivered by special vans in a council bid to clear the backlog.
As frustrated Milton Keynes residents resort to throwing their recyclables into black binbags, MK Council is striving to ensure everybody has their sacks in time for Christmas.
But their ‘not-so-clever’ solution is costing small fortune, protest Tory councillors.
“How is it viable to pay two people driving two vans to make special deliveries of 20 recycling sacks at a time?” asked MK Conservative leader Alex Walker.
He added: “The Labour administration thought they were making savings when they introduced a limit on the number of recycling sacks.
“But the whole system has been a disaster. People all over MK are running out, recycling rates are probably dropping and, to cap it all, savings are being wiped out by the cost of dealing with the backlog the changes have caused.”
Rolls of clear sacks are delivered by bin crews once a year to all households
Once these have gone, residents can order 20 more at a time from the council’s website – but only up to a limit of 180 a year. MK Council receives up to 350 sack roll requests a day. The extra work involved in taking these orders is putting strain on council staff, say the Conservatives.
These are meant to be delivered by the bin crews, but frequently do not arrive or go astray, complain residents.
The clear sack allocation system was introduced earlier this year to replace the previous pink sacks, which could be collected freely from various outlets.
Tories are now urging the council to put the sacks in shops and outlets all over MK again for people to collect.
But Labour council leader Pete Marland said: “The reason for introducing the new system was to reduce the misuse of recycling sacks, and the good news is that while the number of sacks we issue is on track to at least halve, recycling rates are actually improving. We have been getting orders from as far away as Northampton, Bedford and Aylesbury, as well as by businesses, who previously could just walk into a library or the Civic Offices and collect a roll of sacks at the expense of the MK council tax payer. As our budgets get tighter we needed to stop that and we can’t go back to the old system. In theory on-line ordering, or by phone, should be much better.”
He added: “However there have been some unacceptable delays due to the way that the system has been rolled out, and we know that it needs to improve to ensure the sacks are getting to people quickly and on time. We are delivering about 500 rolls to houses every day and officers are well aware that the situation needs to improve and fast.”