Bin men in the Moorlands have been discovered mixing recyclables with organic waste when on their rounds. The incident, which Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) has stated was a “one-off’ occurrence, happened in Westwood Grove in Leek recently.
Bin men in the Moorlands have been discovered mixing recyclables with organic waste when on their rounds.
The incident, which Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) has stated was a “one-off’ occurrence, happened in Westwood Grove in Leek recently.
SMDC often appeals to residents in the area to ensure they use the three waste bin system correctly – with grey bins for recyclables, brown bin for organic waste, and blue lidded bins for general waste.
The mixing-up of recyclables with organic waste was revealed after a resident in the West end of Leek, who wishes not to be named, contacted their local councillor after seeing the bin men offload contents from both grey and brown bins into the same waste collection lorry.
The resident contacted local town and district councillor Bill Cawley, about their concerns.
In their email they stated: “I have a question about how recycling is being handled by SMDC.
“I live in Westwood Grove and this morning I watched a single bin lorry collect grey and brown bins at the same time, from the 20 properties in this street, emptying them together so the contents became mixed. Both types of bin were being emptied into both sides of the lorry.
“This raises serious concerns about how recycling is being handled by this council, as I can only imagine that the entire load of clean recycling items will be contaminated by the garden and food waste mixed in with it, and it will be offloaded – Where?
“Given that the guidelines on the SMDC website haven’t changed, the public are under the impression that clean recycled materials are indeed recycled, and that garden waste is used responsibly and being composted as we were told when brown bins were first introduced.
“Do you know, and could you please tell me what is going on? Thank you, I appreciate your attention to this.”
Cllr Cawley then emailed the relevant department at SMDC, and then had this response back from a council officer: “Management at AES have interrogated the CCTV footage from the collection vehicle on this date.
“Please note that as we have 360 degree cameras fitted to most vehicles we can now review all actions of the crews as well as see anything which happens during collections.
“This footage did indeed show that on this date the crew were as stated mixing the contents of both brown and grey bins, resulting in the material being mixed inside the body of the collection vehicle.
“The collection team in this instance have been interviewed and as a result of the findings a disciplinary process has now begun.”
The council officer added: “I’m pleased to advise that this was seemingly a one off event as footage for this crew on other days and for other vehicles has also been reviewed but clearly it shouldn’t have occurred at all.
“It’s highly embarrassing that this event has occurred and as a result AES will be implementing increased monitoring of collections crews.
“The whole waste and recycling collection team have also been made aware that this type of activity will not be tolerated. Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention.”
The Leek & Moorlands Echo contacted SMDC for further comment about this issue, in particular asking what disciplinary action, if any, had been taken.
In response, a spokesman said: “This matter was brought to the councils attention via a Leek ward councillor. A prompt investigation followed which was conducted by the council’s waste and recycling service provider, AES Ltd.
“This concluded that the crew who were servicing Westwood Grove on this date were in fact mixing recyclables with organic waste as was alleged.
“For data protection reasons we are unable to comment with regards to any disciplinary action that may have followed this initial investigation, but we would like to reassure residents of the Moorlands that we are confident that this was a one off incident.”
They added: “There is never a justification for recyclables and organic waste to be mixed in the back of a collection vehicle following the efforts of residents to present these two streams separately.
“The importance of keeping these waste streams separate to ensure all material can be recycled has subsequently been highlighted to all staff involved in the collection of waste and recycling.”
Cllr Cawley said of the matter: “I believe the officers are monitoring the situation and are considering taking action if deemed necessary.
“I am thankful for the speedy and clarity of the response. I am reassured that it appears to be a one off.”
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