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Action to reduce blue bin contamination

Action is to be taken to deal with those who routinely or seriously contaminate their blue bin recycling collection.

There will be a substantial period of education and information before new rules come into effect which could culminate in worst offenders receiving a £75 fine.

Despite extensive public information campaigns, recycling rates have been tumbling across the nation. In Boston one of the biggest issues has been contamination of recycling collections by rubbish such as dirty nappies, used hypodermic syringes and food waste.

A full-colour guide to recycling in Boston borough will be sent to ALL households with their council tax bills. If you follow the basics contained within the guide you will not go wrong.

It will be the same guide that has been available on the council website for years and can be seen at www.boston.gov.uk/bins

You can also pick up a copy of the leaflet from the council's reception office in West Street.

Householders will not be penalised for the odd minor infringement, so please do not be put off from recycling.

Concerns have been expressed that continued contamination by those who fail to recycle correctly could jeopardise the current collection arrangement in Boston.

Boston borough's recycled waste collection accepts mingled waste - all recyclable items placed in one bin. But with contamination now running at 35 per cent, one-bin recycling could be at risk. The borough could be in the same position as some other council areas with numerous bins for different types of waste. And that would hit everyone in the pocket.

Dealing with contamination in the recycling collection costs everybody more money and impacts the environment as material cannot be recovered for recycling.

Boston Borough Council's Cabinet has agreed to the introduction of £75 fixed penalty fines after advice and a warning for those who continue to contaminate their blue bin collection.

Portfolio holder for waste services, Cllr Michael Brookes, said: We co-mingle, which saves money, but if we fail regulations we may have to undertake more expensive collection methods."

He said there would be a campaign to inform everyone in the borough about what can and cannot go into their blue bins and regular offenders would receive advice when their collection was contaminated, followed by a further warning before receiving a £75 fine.

"This is not to penalise people who make an honest mistake but to penalise those who just don't care, wilfully continue and just won't conform."

Cllr Nigel Welton raised a concern about people who had no secure place to keep their bins, where they might be contaminated by a third party. He was told the fixed penalties will be served by the council's third-party enforcement agency 3GS, but they will only be served with authority from the council.

It was stressed that the council would not make any money from the new enforcement measures. Cllr Welton said: "It's important that residents know this is not to make money but ways for the council to clean up the town."

Cabinet also agreed to adopt the Government's new strategy on dealing with litter, which contains a positive reference to Boston's Operation Fly Swat initiative for dealing with fly tips as an example of good practice.

From April the keeper of a vehicle from which litter is thrown, which includes cigarette ends, is now culpable and not just the person who threw the litter out.

Cabinet agreed that the 3GS contract for litter enforcement should be extended for another year. It also agreed to adopt use of cameras in litter-prone hot spots. These will be operated by 3GS and its partner Optimal Risk under the current arrangement - 3GS and Optimal Risk provide an additional enforcement capability at no cost to the council or its council taxpayers and keep any revenue generated from fines or prosecutions. Their staff are salaried and not incentivised by meeting targets.