A SWANSEA cabinet member has apologised for any misunderstanding after confirming that all black bin bags on certain streets are checked for recyclable items.
Councillor Mark Thomas said this had always been the intention of a new measure, rather than just targeting households which didn’t appear to be recycling.
Opposition councillor Peter Black said he, and others, were firmly under the impression that only those who didn’t recycle would be targeted.
Speaking at a full council meeting, Cllr Black said: “The briefing we had was very, very clear.”
The move was introduced this year to improve recycling rates across Swansea and is, according to the Labour administration, proving successful.
In the first month of the scheme, black bags at more than 20,000 households have been checked, with 15% found to have recyclables in them.
Council waste officers knock on doors and leave leaflets explaining what can and can’t go in black bags – and 70% of households with recyclables found in their black bags on the first occasion recycle fully in two weeks’ time. Persistent offenders face a fixed penalty notice as a last resort.
Although it’s still early days, Cllr Thomas reckons around 3,000 tonnes of waste will be diverted from landfill per year. He said he wasn’t at the briefing cited by Cllr Black, but added: “I think there has been a clear misunderstanding. “Some people thought it would only be for people who didn’t put out recycling bags. “That was never the intention and never the purpose. “When the teams do the checks on the bags, they check all the bags on a street. “If there was a misunderstanding, I apologise.”
The council needs to hit a 64% recycling and composting target this year and then a 70% target in 2024-25.
Before introducing the measure the Labour administration considered other options, including reducing the frequency of black bin collections, but felt this would unfairly penalise those who did recycle.