Labour councillors in Birmingham have renewed their battle for wheelie bins by attacking on the city council’s recycling record.
Kath Hartley reignited the debate for wheeled bins to dispose of garden waste and recyclable rubbish.
Coun Hartley (Lab Ladywood) told a full council meeting that the city’s recycling rate was considerably lower than other local authorities and suggested wheelie bins could change that.
She was backed by Coun Marje Bridle (Lab Shard End) who said: “Birmingham should be leading the way but it isn’t. Certainly there is not only a lack of information in this council, with so many boxes - boxes that aren’t big enough for people who have lots of plastic they want to recycle, boxes of paper that can’t be carried.
“The green plastic bags are chucked by the collectors all over the road and we need wheelie bins. The Hodge Hill constituency will definitely be putting forward ideas for a wheelie bin pilot.
“Flats and apartments aren’t even getting recycling facilities and I discovered recently that a lot of council low rise flats aren’t even getting their own black bags.
“Redditch, on our doorstep, doubled their recycling rates after introducing wheelie bins.”
The city’s cabinet member for transportation and street services, Coun Len Gregory, said Labour’s comments had “taken the biscuit” as they did not reflect the “superb” work undertaken by the council to increase the recycling rates.
Commending the waste management division for achieving an “increase in recycling rates over the last four years”, Coun Gregory (Con Billesley) said results for 2007/08 had shown that the local authority had exceeded its target of 23.5 per cent by more than three per cent.
In addition, he said, the council was one of six authorities in the country where recycling is greater than it sends to landfill and it was fully committed to maintaining its weekly collection of domestic waste.
“Ninety-five per cent of all households will be recycling this year,” he said.
Criticising Labour’s track record on recycling, Coun Robert Alden (Con Erdington) said: “All they have ever done on recycling is talk. In 1990, the council set a 25 per cent target to be achieved by 2000.
“In 1997, Labour reduced that to 17 per cent by 2004 and in 1999 - a year before the city’s 25 per cent target - it was actually five per cent. That put Labour Birmingham a massive 60 per cent behind the average for the country. What a shambles.
“At the time the public said Labour don’t care about recycling in Birmingham and in 2004, the public said they didn’t care about Labour in Birmingham.”
Coun Martin Mullaney (Lib Dem Moseley and Kings Heath) highlighted pilot schemes and ways the council had attempted to encourage businesses in the city to recycle.
“We’ve seen a focus on business recycling by getting the local shops, pubs and restaurants to recycle,” he said. “Most of the pubs and restaurants do not recycle their glasses or bottles.
“The Prince of Wales pub in Moseley never used to recycle but it does now and some of the shops now recycle their cardboard. We are piloting a battery recycling scheme in Moseley and Kings Heath, getting the public to come in and recycle.”