Anger over change to Stevenage recycling scheme

Mick Reece with his recycling bin and boxes

Mick Reece with his recycling bin and boxes - Credit: Archant

A council has caused uproar after deciding to stop collecting cardboard recycling from brown wheelie bins and instead only take it from the small blue box which is already used for paper.

The new scheme from Stevenage Borough Council will take effect from Monday, with the blue box having to accomodate paper, card, newspaper, magazines, shredded paper, envelopes and cardboard, and the brown bin just garden and food waste.

The council says the move is due to local authorities across Hertfordshire being asked to stop sending cardboard for composting because some cardboard has plastic coatings, metal linings or other components that are not biodegradable. But it has left residents annoyed.

Mick Reece, 64, is a Green Space Volunteer for the borough council - giving his time for free to help make a difference to the community green spaces.

“I wish to keep recycling for the good of our planet Earth but what went in the brown wheelie bin won’t fit in the blue box with all the newspapers,” he said.

“I don’t want to have three blue boxes because I’ve got three black boxes for plastics already. Now we shall be putting all our cardboard into our black wheelie bin. I wish to carry on recycling but this change will force me to chuck my recycling away.”

Stevenage resident Peter Davison, 30, said: “A large amount of recycling is cardboard, and picking a small box to put it in is ridiculous, especially as we approach the Christmas period when a lot of the waste will be cardboard and paper. The box for plastic recycling isn’t big enough either. They should copy what North Herts District Council does, with one wheelie bin for the majority of recycling.”

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Emma Nazari, 34, of Augustus Gate in Stevenage, added: “I do think the blue box is too small for it to work, unless they want to change it to a weekly pick-up. Why don’t we have one wheelie bin for all the recycling? It would make me recycle a lot more.”

A spokesman for the borough council said the collections had to be changed.

“We are offering extra blue boxes free of charge to allow more space for cardboard and our crews will collect cardboard that will not fit in the blue box if it is flattened and left out next to the other recycling bins and boxes,” she said.

“We are also offering residents the opportunity to swap their brown wheelie bin for a smaller bin to save space. We have looked at all the options and believe this is the best value for money. Our recycling officers will work with those who have a larger amount of recycling to find a solution.

“We encourage any residents with enquiries to get in touch on 01438 242323.”