Council and its contractor threaten to ‘audit’ residents’ bins as part of a review of what larger families dump as non-recyclable waste


Thousands of Trafford residents have received letters warning that officials may ‘audit’ the contents of their gray bins as part of a drive to reduce non-recyclable waste.

It means larger families face the prospect of a council contactor pouring over the contents of their gray bins to check if they really need the bigger 240 liter size or whether the smaller 140 liter version will do.

Council bosses say they will dispatch the smaller version to homes that no longer require ‘extra gray bin space’ and send the larger versions to homes that need them.

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The council and its contractor Amey, as part of their ‘One Trafford’ collaboration, has so far written to 3,629 households in the borough – mostly homes which have been given 240 liter gray bins as they reported five or more permanent residents or someone with a medical condition which results in increased waste.

Each household is being asked complete an online form or return a paper questionnaire within three weeks as part of a review of gray bin usage in the borough.

The letter states: “Please be aware that, as part of the council’s policy, we may undertake an audit of the contents of your gray bin to confirm your continued need for additional space.”

Gray bins are collected every fortnight in Trafford and are for non-recyclable waste including plastic pots, tubs and trays, plastic packaging such as empty crisp packets, plastic bags, polystyrene, nappies, sanitary products, cotton wool and make-up pads, tissues and wet wipes.

Households are also given a black bin for glass, cans and plastic bottles, a blue bin for cardboard and paper and a green bin or green caddy for food and garden waste.

Each year around 30 million tonnes of household waste is produced in the UK, 5.9 million tonnes of which is said to be packaging. We throw away seven million tonnes of food and drink and 6.6 million tonnes of food waste, according to recycle-more.co.uk.

In Trafford gray bins are for non-recyclable waste

A spokesperson for the One Trafford partnership told the MEN: “Householder needs change over time and we are reviewing eligibility for larger gray bins, so we can update our records. This ensures we can continue to provide the correct amount of gray bin space to meet residents’ immediate needs; taking a fair and consistent approach across the borough.

“Any larger or extra gray bins that may be removed from properties which are no longer eligible, will be redistributed to properties which need them. Up to the end of May, a total of 3,629 households have been contacted under this review.

“As part of the council’s policy, from time to time, we may carry out an audit of the contents of a gray bin to confirm if residents are recycling everything they can. This helps us to establish if there is a continued need for additional space This means our recycling team will check to see if there are items in the gray bin which could be recycled, like paper and cardboard, glass, plastic bottles and tins.

“By recycling right, there will be more room in the gray bin for waste that can’t be recycled; helping to reduce the need for additional gray bin space.

trafford town hall

“Limiting gray bin space encourages recycling and is consistent with other Greater Manchester authorities. Unfortunately, not everyone is recycling everything they can. This means that we are spending more on waste disposal than we need to. Recycling more means spending less on disposal fees, which means we can protect other essential public services like adult social care and libraries. To see what can be recycled at home, visit www.trafford.gov.uk/bins.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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