A drive to promote Birmingham’s controversial wheelie bin scheme could cost the cash-strapped council up to £1 million, a leaked memo has revealed.
The document showed the eye-watering cost of printing leaflets, postcards and letters plugging the initiative over the next two years.
The memo put printing costs at £2 for each of Birmingham’s 400,000 households – making £800,000 before the addition of expenses like design fees and the staging of information roadshows.
Residents in Brandwood and Harborne, who are already using wheelie bins on a trial basis, have received at least five different mailshots regarding the scheme, at a cost of £40,000.
The costings were leaked to Tory Coun Deirdre Alden, a long-term critic of the plan.
She said: “If they go on like this it will end up costing the council £1 million.
“People have had a 12-page booklet, postcards, letters and stickers, enough to fill one of their recycling boxes.
“I am sure other authorities haven’t spent this much on promotion. They could have kept supplying black bags to everyone for £1 million.”
Coun Alden said she was told last month that publicity and promotion expenses stood at £29,000 rather than £40,000 for publications alone, without PR and marketing costs.
A council spokesman said £29,000 was the cost to date and the larger figure the projected cost for the entire pilot scheme. He said the Government required the council to promote the bin collections and officials were looking at “streamlining” communications before the bins were rolled out across the rest of the city.
“We’ve learned much from the pilots and, going forward, the printed communications for residents will be reviewed, refined and streamlined where appropriate,” the spokesman said.