THE contents of recycling bins are being monitored by a council as part of a clampdown on people putting out the wrong items.
But the scheme has been criticised by some people who are angry to see snoopers examining the contents of their bins.
The six-week scheme, funded by a £6,000 grant from Hampshire County Council, targeted Hayling Island as it was deemed one of the worst areas for people putting the wrong items in their recycling bins.
Four waste advisers from Havant Borough Council monitored the contents of recycling bins at 2,200 homes.
Those with major contamination – such as large amounts of garden waste – were given a note on their bin informing them it could not be collected.
A total of 164 were given out in the first week and by the sixth week 67 had been given out.
Those with minor contamination – including yoghurt pots and kitchen towels – received a visit from a waste adviser, while some residents had postcards through their doors if they were out.
Peter Green, 71, from Meath Close, received a note telling him soiled paper was not allowed in the bin.
He said: ‘There was no warning at all. They came at seven in the morning and one of the neighbours saw them going through the bins.
‘If they had told everybody first that would have been acceptable.
‘But to go through bins in that clandestine way, that’s just not good enough. My wife thinks it may have been fish and chip paper.’
Council officials said an entire load could be rejected if just a few bins were contaminated.
The average contamination rate is 15 per cent and the council is aiming to get it down by two per cent each year. Other areas may be targeted in future.
Operational services manager Peter Vince said: ‘This will hopefully result in better quality materials being collected and sent for reprocessing.
‘Two collection rounds on Hayling Island were identified as producing high contamination and as a result the recycling bins from each property, including flats, were monitored.
‘Waste advisers went out ahead of the crews and lifted the lid of bins and reported what was seen.
‘They did not rummage through the bins and no items were removed. If contamination was identified then the bin was not emptied and information was attached to the bin advising the householder.
‘This was followed up by a visit from a waste advisor to discuss and offer advice and guidance about what should be placed in the bin in the future.’