GREEN householders are seeing red over Warwick District Council’s policy of charging for replacement recycling bins.
The cash-strapped council introduced charges last June after forking out £165,000 annually on replacing wheelie bins and red boxes.
And since the charges were introduced – with a wheelie bin costing £25 and a red box £5 – the number of people asking for new or replacement bins has dropped dramatically. Charging households has brought in more than £40,000 in the eight months.
But many residents are angry and are threatening to stop recycling altogether.
A resident living in Leamington’s Old Town said: “It really is not a policy which helping encourage people to recycle.
“We only have a red recycling box as we live in a terraced property, but two have gone missing in the past 18 months. I am not going to keep paying out for them to be stolen. I will take my recycling directly to the tip, and if that’s not possible it will go in with the other rubbish.
“People who pay for a new bin are going to be a lot less forgiving also of the way the binmen throw them around – often leaving them cracked and with lids off allowing the rain to get in.”
And residents who do need a bin have also been left disgruntled by an additional £5 delivery fee.
Charges for bins are being made in 60 per cent of cases, with the items handed out for free only when they have fallen in the back of bin lorries, where they are aged to the point they can no longer be used and where larger containers are needed due to homes with special medical needs.
The council maintains it strives to carry out a good service and that contractors try to empty containers even if they are not bought from them.
A spokeswoman told the Observer: “We recognise some residents will opt to use their own containers for their recycling and this happened even before the council introduced charges for replacement containers.
“Our advice to our crews has always been to take a pragmatic approach – if a container is robust so as they can empty and return it without risking injuring themselves or spilling the contents, they should do so. Where they judge that it is not safe to empty a container, the crew attach a tag apologising we were unable to collect the recycling and advising that this was because the container was unsuitable or unsafe.
“Alternatively residents can use the Waste Recycling Centres at Princes Drive in Leamington or Cherry Orchard in Kenilworth to dispose of their refuse, garden waste and recycling free of charge.
“We also encourage residents to mark all of their containers with their property number or name to help prevent them from going missing or being stolen.”
Over the year the council expects to raise £78,000 selling bins, and say it will cover the remaining £87,000.
* Fly-tipping concerns raised in the district. Turn to page 3.