New charges for Portsmouth residents who 'contaminate' their recycling

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People who repeatedly fill their recycling bin with rubbish that cannot be recycled will face emptying charges under Portsmouth City Council’s updated waste collection policy.

The charges will come into force later this year and could see people have to pay as much as £128 to have a recycling bin with non-recyclable waste in it emptied.

Councillor Dave Ashmore, the cabinet member for environmental services whose portfolio covers waste collections and recycling, said he believed the rules were “only fair”.

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“This is really just a tweaking of our existing bin policies,’ he said. “People sometimes don’t realise that as a council we have to pay for our rubbish to be taken away while with recycling we get some income that can be used on other services, so it’s important we get this right.”

Placing non-recyclable items into a recycling bin 'contaminates' itPlacing non-recyclable items into a recycling bin 'contaminates' it
Placing non-recyclable items into a recycling bin 'contaminates' it

Council figures show that contaminated recycling resulted in almost one-fifth of all material taken to the recycling facility being rejected, costing £150,000.

ALSO READ: Thousands of Portsmouth homes to get food waste bins

Since the beginning of 2018, 1,778 incidents of bins being filled with non-approved waste were reported to the council by bin crews before they were collected. Almost 300 homes were reported on more than one occasion with one house reported 26 times.

Under the new policy, council officers will carry out an “educational” visit the first time a report is made with charges levied for any subsequent report. These will range from £6 up to £128 for the largest bin. And although the new policy will come into force in September, the council said these would not apply until October to allow time for people to find out about the new rules.

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“The indicated charge for removing contaminated waste is within the control of the resident who may decide to deal with it themselves,” the leader of the council Steve Pitt said. “We’re not forcing charges on anyone; we’re giving them an option.”

The new policy will also enforce the requirement that people whose homes front directly onto the pavement do not permanently store their bins outside the front of their home.

Councillors were told this would prevent pedestrian access being blocked. The updated policy was unanimously agreed by the council’s cabinet at its meeting on Tuesday (July 25).