Stick to recycling rules or face charges, Northampton Borough Council warns

Around 3,000 warning notices and 55 fines have been handed to households in Northampton for flaunting recycling collection rules according to the borough council.

The authority is launching a campaign to make sure those subject to weekly bin collection in the town adhere to the “two green sack collection policy.”

The policy was first introduced in September 2013 as part of a move in Northampton to recycle more and send less waste to landfill.

It means refuse collection crews will only collect a maximum of two branded green sacks and unlimited recycling from each household each week.

Any additional waste will not be taken and must be put out again the following week in branded green sacks, or taken to a household waste recycling centre.

But the borough says that while most of the 22,000 households in Northampton on sack collections comply with the two green sack only policy and recycle as much as they can, “there are some that are not.”

Northampton Borough Council cabinet member for the environment, Councillor Alan Bottwood, said: “This policy isn’t new and there is no reason for households not to comply.

“Every household is provided with a supply of green sacks every six months, enough to last six months.

“If there is a good reason why people aren’t complying with the policy; either because they don’t have green sacks or don’t know what they can recycle, then I would urge them to get in touch so we can help them.”

Since the two sack policy was introduced in 2013, Northampton Borough Council has sent out around 3,000 warning letters to residents who are not complying and issued 55 fixed penalty notices.

In addition the council has prosecuted eight households for waste offences.

However, the council’s opposition Labour group says the two sack policy is “in some instances, just not workable.”

Leader of the group Councillor Danielle Stone, said: “There is a problem with the policy for houses in multiple occupation which produce large amounts of rubbish.

“In my experience houses in multiple occupation often need more than two green sacks per week. In some communal areas of flats it is not always clear which property has put out which particular sacks and so imposing fines could prove to be unworkable.

“When this policy was first introduced properties were given a six month supply of green sacks.

“However, there was an unofficial understanding people could put out more or less than two green sacks on collection day, just as long as it averaged out as two sacks per week over the six month period.

“Clearly the Borough Council have abandoned this tacit understanding with residents.”