Amber Valley Borough Council has sought to set the record straight after a national newspaper accused them of ‘snooping’ in residents’ bins.
The Daily Mail published the findings of a nationwide Freedom of Information request on September 1 regarding waste disposal errors logged by collection workers.
It found that almost 30,000 instances had been logged by Amber Valley teams within the space a year, noting common mistakes such as putting non-recyclable items in the wrong bin.
However, the newspaper went on to suggest that such records were part of a comprehensive surveillance operation in which householders were been fined and labelled as offenders.
The Mail spoke to Amber Valley resident Jenna Moellendorf, 31, who said: “It’s galling they have kept records on me. I don’t expect to be treated like a criminal over what’s in my bin. It’s petty and sinister.”
Jenna’s recycling bin was reportedly found to contain clothing and polystyrene.
But, according to the council, the reality is less sinister than was made out.
A spokesman said: “Every day the council empties just over 10,000 bins—5,000 refuse and 5,000 recycling.
“Bin men do not search through bins to record items that should not be in the recycling but should they notice such items they will not empty the bin and will place a hanger on it to advise the resident.”
In such cases, the bin men will also notify council customer service staff so they are aware of the situation in case the resident contacts them.
No local residents have ever been fined as a result, and advisory letters are occasionally sent to households repeatedly making mistakes.
The spokesman added: “The council prefers to work with residents and explain what can be recycled through a telephone conversation and residents will also be sent an information leaflet.
“Residents currently recycle just under 23 per cent of their waste, an illustration of a clear commitment. In a recent survey 82 per cent of residents were satisfied with the council’s service.”