South Lanarkshire Council to issue ‘red tag’ final warnings for contamination of recycling bins

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Folk in Clydesdale enjoying a takeaway pizza had better finish every crumb of it from now on - or face not having their bin emptied.

That is one perhaps extreme example of what is to happen during the latest council crackdown on “contamination” of blue recycling bins.

South Lanarkshire Council has already issued warnings to householders who have put unsuitable items into their bins and now a final warning ‘red tag’ is to be attached to inappropriately filled bins and they will be left behind by council refuse collectors; if offending items are removed by the next week’s bin collection, only then will the bin be emptied.

The cash-strpped council explains that they spent £60,000 in April this year alone removing unsuitable refuse from blue bins. It is also hindering them in reducing rubbish sent to landfill.

The council has issued a list of suitable and unsuitable items; for example, in paper recycling bins acceptable items are newspapers, magazines, leaflets, phone directories, “fully intact” envelopes, brochures, office paper, letters, catalogues, unwanted mail, shredded paper, wrapping paper and paperback books.

Not accepted will be tissues, napkins, paper towels, nappies, laminated paper, padded envelopes, wet paper, textiles and Pringles tubes. In card recycling bins cereal boxes are okay but food takeway containers with any remains of food inside them aren’t.

Lanark area Conservative councillor Richard Eliott Lockhart commented that he generally supported the scheme but that householders could too easily fall foul of the penality.

He said: “Undoubtedly recycling is the new `in’ word and everyone is very conscious about doing ‘their bit’. If done well no doubt it does save time and money and will help save the planet.

“However, once you start proscribing rubbish in detail, it gets very messy! The judge and Jury becomes the bin man. And who is he to judge better than you what maybe a well thought-through process by the individual trying to make sense of this increasingly lengthening list of the “forbidden” items for each bin you have?

“I know what radioactive contamination is – but food contamination? You need a PHD to get it right and is some poor, older person, possibly like me – slightly confused by all this and, without a waste disposal qualification, expected to get this right every time?”