Suggestion to fine Central Bedfordshire residents who have a '˜blatant disregard for recycling'

A system of penalties should be available to punish Central Bedfordshire residents who can't be bothered with recycling, it has been claimed.

A new waste strategy has been drawn up by the local authority, without any punitive measures in place.

But Conservative CBC councillor Nigel Young (Dunstable Watling) told an executive meeting penalties should be an option “if people are ignoring recycling”.

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“It’s a confusing world we live in, where so many things we think should be recycled can’t be,” he said.

“It’s extremely important how we carry out the detailed education programme (for residents).

“It could make most difference where there is a blatant disregard for recycling.

“The recommendation says no penalties, but I would be grateful that we keep that in mind if there’s blatant ignoring of recycling,” added councillor Young, who’s the executive member for regeneration.

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He said: “Contaminated recycling occurs noticeably more in particular areas where everything gets thrown into the recycling bin.”

The council’s director of community services Marcel Coiffait said: “We’re not at this time looking at fines. That’s not contained in the report.

“But that’s not to say we cannot look at that in the future. We would rather educate than penalise at this stage.

“The contractors are  asked not to collect bins which are contaminated.”

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A new waste and recycling contract for Central Bedfordshire will delay three-weekly black bin collections, but that remains a future option.

Residents won’t be charged for green waste collections, while bins will be available for anyone currently using bags.

The council consulted widely on its waste strategy, with 15,000 people having their say on the subject.

Conservative councillor for Aspley and Woburn, Budge Wells, told today’s meeting labels are stuck on bins which aren’t deemed fit for collection.

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“The red and white label is put on the bin with a list of reasons why it has not been collected.

“I will be pursuing that with a vengeance,” added councillor Wells, who’s the deputy executive member for community services.

Conservative Dunstable Central councillor Carole Hegley praised the “harmonisation” of services between the north and south of Central Bedfordshire.

Describing it as “overdue and timely”, she said: “This is to be welcomed. The food waste collection in the north has worked, and residents in the south should take note of that.

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“It’s taking food waste out of the general waste collection.

“This has been educational for me,” she added. “If you’re market shopping for fruit and vegetables you don’t get all that packaging.”

And Dunstable Watling Conservative Peter Hollick said: “The educational aspects are so important.

“We should put pressure on our MPs and other groups involved over packaging of things that we buy.

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“Some times the packaging says recycle, sometimes it’s for the kerbside collection, some times it’s just blank.

“It’s very confusing. If they could sort that out it would be useful.”

Mr Coiffait said the new contract might combine responsibilities for the collection and disposal of recyclables to give the firm a greater incentive to “keep recycling clean”.

“I am confident the contract will save money,” he explained. “Harmonising services will lead to greater efficiencies for the operators.

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“There’s no longer north and south services, but a single contract (instead).”

He accepted that food waste collections throughout the area and the wider availability of green waste bins will increase costs.

But he said the hope is that less waste will need to be disposed of with more things recycled as time goes on.

Councillors backed a recommendation which from late 2019 will allow for fortnightly black bin and recycling, with weekly food bin collections, as well as fortnightly garden waste collections between March and November.

Separate glass collections are planned, although the local authority will be keeping its 200 bottle banks throughout the area.