New powers to fine residents who repeatedly put the wrong items in their recycling bins are coming – but are not expected to be used.
The district has improved its recycling rate from 38 to 45 per cent over the last two years, which district councillor Roger Barrow, cabinet member for contract services, thanked households for helping to achieve.
But a ‘tiny minority’ contaminate their burgundy bins, which can see an entire truck load going to landfill.
Chichester District Council cabinet members approved a Contaminated Recycling Bin Policy on Tuesday, which details a two-stage process to deal with persistent offenders, with the last resort a £75 fine.
But cllr Barrow said the ‘more robust policy’ was still primarily focused on educating residents about what can be recycled.
On using the new powers to fine he said: “I must stress we think this is most unlikely to happen because we do believe that our policy will prevent us from getting to that stage.”
Officers said they intend to focus on the informal stages of the policy and they would ‘not expect to resort to stage two unless it’s really necessary’.
The first stage includes letters to households and follow up visits if necessary.
The second stage could see a warning notice issued, with the final potential action being a penalty notice.
Cllr Barrow said the policy was for those who ‘significantly contaminate their bins’.
Asked about bins placed next to roads or communal bins, officers explained that when crews visually inspect the contents, they will try and remove items where they can as they would far rather complete a collection.
Under the current informal policy around 500 letters are sent out a month, with only three or four cases needing a second letter, and just one or two requiring a third.
Leader Tony Dignum, said: “The vast majority of residents cooperate fully with our recycling policy, how else did we get to 45 per cent?”
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