Stoke-on-Trent Council employs staff to police recycling

Stoke-on-Trent Council has taken on ‘waste minimisation’ staff to check through residents’ rubbish and ensure they’re throwing away the right kind of waste.

The new measures, costing £100,000, mean anyone who is caught going against the council’s wishes will receive a yellow warning card on their bin. The council has claimed the move will save money long term, with contaminated recyclable waste costing the authority around £500,000 per year.

However, many residents have opposed the move, claiming there are more important things the council could have spent the money on.

Nonetheless, Mattew Lowe, who is part of the waste minimisation team, said: “Other councils have done what we are now doing and they have seen a real increase in their recycling rates. We are really keen to get the message across and we have come up with guides showing exactly what can and can’t be recycled.

“We try to work with the bin crews and we will be looking through bins to see what is in there. If a bin has a lot of things that shouldn’t be in there, then it won’t be taken as it takes a long time to sort out. We are not trying to nag people or go on at them. Recycling is good for current and future generations.”

Councillor Terry Follows added: “If we continue to collect recycled waste with more than 15 per cent contamination levels, it would cost £500,000 by the end of the year. The encouraging news is that the team has been in place for some months now and the recycling rate is going up after five years of continuous decline.

“We want to educate people around what can be put in recycling bins, save taxpayers’ money and ensure that our recycling rates improve and have a better impact on the environment.”