letters to and from the council.


Dear Mr Cunningham,

ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION REGULATIONS – RESPONSE TO REQUEST

Your request for information received on 26-JAN-12 has now been considered.

You requested: May I be advised, under Freedom of Information rules, if there are any penalties envisaged for council taxpayers who place the ‘wrong’ items in the ‘wrong’ bins?

Our response: It is Durham County Councils intention to educate residents on what should be placed in each bin either recyclable materials (New blue lidded bin) or residual waste (in original waste bin). It is not envisaged financial penalties will be introduced for placing the wrong items in the wrong bin.

 

You requested: What these penalties would amount to, per ‘infraction’?

 

Our response: Please see response to question 1.

 

You requested: If such penalties are envisaged, how does this policy coincide with the Secretary of State’s requirement that no fines or penalties will be allowed?

 

Our response: Please see response to question 1.

You requested: May I be also advised how much is being spent, by the Council, on the provision of all these bins for this recycling idea?

 

Our response: The 225,000 bins being procured to enable the authority to move to Alternate Weekly Collection have cost £4.2 million with a life expectancy in excess of 15 years. Even taking into account these costs, it will enable the authority to make an a saving in excess of £9M over 5 years from reduced operation costs, increased recycling income and reduced landfill.

Yours sincerely,       Christine Paciorek Freedom of Information Officer

Our response: It is Durham County Councils intention to educate residents on what should be placed in each bin either recyclable materials (New blue lidded bin) or residual waste (in original waste bin). It is not envisaged financial penalties will be introduced for placing the wrong items in the wrong bin.

Dear FOI Team,

Further to your response to my FOI query regarding waste materials and the two new waste bins, I would appreciate your enlarging, under FOI rules of course, on the term used which is ‘educate residents’ in the use of the bins.

As the County Council area holds somewhere around 260,000 people, and a likely percentage of those people being resistant to change being around 7.5%, do you believe that a travelling ‘road show’, which drives around the highways and byways of County Durham ‘educating’ the less than subservient amongst us that the County Council ‘Big Brother’ knows best, and we had better look sharp about composting, and recycling and all the other ‘Greenie buzz’ terms in use within the Council these days?

Alternatively, are you proposing to employ special ‘Waste Authorised Recycling Examination operatives’ to carry out random checks on the amounts of glass and paper deposited ‘by mistake’ into the general waste bins, and then force the reluctant residents to sort themselves out, and of course their rubbish, whilst placing the newly re-sorted garbage into the correct receptacles? If this proposal is adopted, will the Council indemnify residents against accidental injury or wounds received by the handling of broken glass or jagged-edged tins, or will this mean that the recalcitrant residents will have to take out special insurance so that they may be able to claim compensation if they are indeed injured whilst re-cycling incorrectly re-cycled material?

If the second of the two proposals is adopted, will the County Council be asking the Police to train the ‘Waste Authorised Recycling Examination operatives’ or W.A.R.E.O.s  for short in the legal aspects of making people understand that tins and glass don’t mix with stale bread and old dollops of chicken curry, or will they be left to sort out the bin problems by shouting at people until they get it into their thick skulls?

Finally, and writing as an freeborn Englishman of a fairly good standard of education and knowledge of the world as it stands, does the Council honestly believe that an amorphous body such as the County Council can tell me, force me, or even ‘educate’ me, into doing something which I really am not bothered about?

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