Recycling jobsworths

Bins awaiting collection - but will they be collected?

Because we are enthusiastic and conscientious recyclers and, as many people in this unprecedented time are shopping more online, our green bin is usually absolutely full every fortnight – and for last Thursday’s collection the bin was full to bursting several days before, so we put out two black sacks containing recycling as well.

One was just on the top of the bin and the other on the ground next to it. We now realise that in the small print of the recycling literature black sacks are not allowed, although the reason isn’t given and, in fact, we have done this before and the sacks have been taken.

In any case, the alternatives suggested are not really suitable – bin liners tend to be flimsy and split easily and plastic carrier bags, if anyone has any spare these days, are too small.

We therefore were astounded to discover that, rather than leaving the offending black sacks behind, none of our recycling had been collected. The website stated that our collection was “contaminated” and thus could not be taken.

“Delaying the operatives”

Rother District Council (RDC) customer services, when called, told us that moving a bag from the top of the bin to the ground would “seriously delay the operatives”! Filing their report was probably far more time-consuming.

Such a draconian and inflexible approach does nothing to encourage the recycling that this planet so badly needs. We cannot possibly store another two weeks’ worth of recycling and, as mentioned in several recent articles in Rye News, public bins are usually overflowing, so – with a heavy heart – we will have to put everything in the grey bin until such time as the green bin is emptied. There are no winners from this situation.

Finally, we were disappointed to read recently that the commercial incinerators used to dispose of household waste often have to be topped up with recycling if there isn’t enough general waste available. If true, this might lead some people to question why they should bother to recycle at all.

Image Credits: J. Minter .


  1. In certain areas of Rye they use Pink bags to fill and not bins. But are collected.I don’t think there is a limit on number of Pink bags.
    But you are told to crush plastic containers..and cardboard boxes. Tins. So there is more room in the your Bin or Pink bag.
    Black bags are not used for recycling…as black plastic cannot to recycled.
    They suggested use clear plastic sacks for extra..
    The best solution is o be more contentious and stop and think before you purchase an item with plastic packaging to have to recycle. Use your cardboard newspapers and shredded papers to make your own compost much better for the environment. All are invaluable . Only glossy paper should not go into composting .And all tapes using plastic has to be taken off cardboard for either recycling in your Green bin…
    Can you not save your next fortnights recycling in a cardboard box from Jempson’s .
    Re your black bag on top of the Green bin..may be they thought your Green bin was full of general refuse..just a thought.

  2. i think Tim will find it is fortnightly for both here in Rye as well apart from maybe, the very centre of the town.

  3. For future reference I think the problem is caused by the actual bags being black. I know, when having looking into recycling before ,there is a problem within the recycling centres where the machines cant detect the black colour. ( example why they cant recycle black plant pots) If you use bin liners/large bags of a different colour or which are recyclable or cardboard boxes for any thing extra and leave it by the side of the bin there usually is not a problem.
    I hope this helps to eliminate future frustrations.

    • Thank you. As stated, we realised afterwards that the black sacks were the problem but were just astonished that they didn’t just leave them behind and take the rest. It was obvious that the rest of the green bin only contained loose recycling.

  4. Your obvious dissapointed Cecilia like a lot of us in new winchelsea road, we leave our bins on the front of our drives,which we are told to do, and then have to retrieve them off the pavement, which is a hazard to other pedestrians.

  5. Just reading through these comments, I wonder whether the bin collectors are under extreme time pressure and simply cannot deal with anything unusual or put the bins back neatly where they found them. I am not saying that this is great or even OK, but I am not sure its the workers that are to blame. When I see them deal with my bins, they are effectively running to get the job done. I have no complaints at all but given the sheer speed that they are working at perhaps they cant do the best job that they would like?


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