May 12, 2022 3.30 pm This story is over 18 months old

Confusion as ‘bin police’ refuse to empty dozens of bins in Lincoln village

The rejected bins were given ‘tags of shame’

West Lindsey residents have complained “bin police” have stopped their recycling bins getting emptied after dozens were rejected in one village.

Around 40 people living in Dunholme were left baffled why their blue wheelie bins hadn’t been emptied this week.

The council say they are enforcing the rules on which materials can and can’t be in bins after being lenient previously – and claimed nearly a third of waste currently put in blue bins can’t be recycled.

Rejected bins are given advisory tags, which have been dubbed ‘tags of shame’, although some people say they weren’t given any explanation for being turned down.

Residents have expressed fears the strict rules could lead to less recycling if blue bins are overflowing, or people could even resort to fly-tipping.

Julia Brown was one of those whose bin as rejected, but didn’t get a tag to explain why.

She said: “It’s disgusting, I’m not sure what’s in it that can’t go in as no label [was] left to explain why. I’ve referred back to the leaflet and everything that is in it is on the leaflet so I’m confused!”

The council says it is enforcing the recycling rules that have already been laid down | Photo: Lizzie Bell

Another woman who lives in the village said: “Everyone is so confused – they want to do the right thing but don’t know how. It seems like people are going through the bins to look for any small detail to reject them.

“If the blue bins are full, recycling will have to go in the black bins instead to be thrown away. A lot of people will give up.

“I saw nine bins which had been rejected on a single road. Some didn’t even have tags – had the bin police run out?”

It comes weeks after purple-lid bins were introduced for paper and cardboard, and the council began to issue the ‘tags of shame’.

Another Dunholme woman said: “The new rules are ludicrous.  I’d like to think I’m of average intelligence but my bins were refused. They are now rammed, which I never had before.

“Fly tipping will be huge soon.  I hate fly tipping/littering but I won’t blame anyone who does it now.”

Paper, cardboard, soft plastics, clothes and electrical items are all banned from blue bins.

West Lindsey District Council has urged households to read the advice provided on what is acceptable in different bins.

“It is correct that blue bins are being rejected if they contain any contaminated material, this includes paper and card which must now be placed in the purple-lidded bins recently issued,” a spokesperson said.

“In March we wrote to every household and delivered extensive communications through social media and our website to explain the introduction of new separate paper and card collections and to remind residents what materials we were able to collect in their blue-lidded recycling bins.

The ‘tags of shame’ are attached to bins which have been rejected | Photo: Lizzie Bell

“We have also undertaken three complete ‘tag and take’ cycles before starting to reject blue bins, leaving advisory tags on which contained incorrect items in them to give residents the opportunity to get used to the new system before we started rejecting bins.

“The materials we can collect and recycle have not altered, we are not simply enforcing what is and is not acceptable. Prior to this initiative over 30% of the materials we saw in the blue lidded bins were not able to be recycled and so we are now simply asking residents to put the right thing in the right bin and help us to improve the quality of recycling across the district.”

Ady Selby, assistant director operational and commercial services at West Lindsey District Council said: “The council has been communicating to residents about the new collection regime since February, we are delighted that the vast majority of householders are presenting great quality recycling. Unfortunately we have to reject bins which contain the wrong materials, however we will continue to support residents by putting extra people on the ground and producing clear and timely comms messages.

“We want residents to remember that we would never want to leave a bin unemptied unless it is really necessary. The wrong items regularly found in the blue recycling bins are: soft plastics such as film lids and carrier bags to kitchen roll and used tissues. All these items cannot be recycled and will contaminate other good recycling, and even the lorry load itself. This results in not only increased sorting costs, but also less recycled items as residents expect them to be.

“We would like to thank all our residents who have helped us achieve great results in the early weeks of the scheme and we are confident the positive environmental benefits resulting from this change will be achieved”.

The full guidance on what should be put in different bins is available on the council’s website.