Mayor steps in to resolve recycling bag problems

pink recycling bags -Aliona  2

Recycling bags will once again be available for collection at all Idea Stores and libraries after Mayor John Biggs asked council officers to make it easier for residents to pick up extra bags. 

The transparent bags are used by Tower Hamlets residents who live in street properties, who must place their recycling into clear bags for collection from the kerbside. Residents living in properties that don’t open on to the street, such as blocks of flats, don’t need to use recycling bags as they can put their recycling directly into the large purple recycling bins located on their estates. 

However a new collection process was introduced that put severe limits on where and when bags were available and meant residents had to give their name and address, due to concerns that the previous system was being abused. Many residents were collecting large numbers of extra bags and using them for purposes other than recycling, and a number of businesses have been suspected of using them for commercial waste, costing the council thousands of pounds in extra costs. 

The Mayor has intervened following complaints from eco-conscious residents concerned that the tighter rules made it harder for them to recycle. The Mayor has instructed council officers to make extra recycling sacks available every Wednesday and Saturday from any Idea Store or library in the borough. The current timetable will be scrapped. Residents will no longer have to give their name and address, but simply show proof of address in the borough, in order to receive a roll of bags. He has also asked for every household in the borough to be sent clearer advice about how they can improve recycling. 

The new system will come into force from Wednesday 23 January. Residents will then be able to collect a roll of recycling bags from any Idea Store or Library on a Wednesday or Saturday by showing proof of their address (for instance a household bill).  

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said: “Low recycling rates are damaging both the planet and the council’s finances, so we want to encourage more people to recycle in Tower Hamlets, not make it harder.

“Recycling bags cost council taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds a year to supply, but many residents say they help them recycle more. The majority of our residents live in flats so they can just put their recycling directly into the large purple recycling bins provided, but that shouldn’t mean people who want to continue using pink bags aren’t able to get them at all.

 “Residents who recycle more will soon be able to collect an extra roll of pink bags by popping into any Idea Store or library on either Wednesday or Saturday.”

Posted on Tuesday 17th January 2017