Bags of rubbish dumped at Mansfield Civic Centre over waste collection

Bags of rubbish were today dumped on the steps of Mansfield Civic Centre in a protest over waste collection.

A household wheelie bin was emptied outside one of the main entrances to the Mansfield District Council headquarters on Chesterfield Road South today, Wednesday, January 23, after binmen refused to empty the bin belonging to a resident of The Mount, Forest Town.

The piles of rubbish

The piles of rubbish

Councillor Sid Walker, who carried out the protest, said: "One of my constituents, a young lad, told me his green bin had been left and it was open maybe two inches and there was nothing in it they wouldn't usually take."

It follows a council policy to not empty the bins unless the lids are fully closed due to "health and safety concerns".

On its website, the council says: "Your green bin will only be emptied if the lid of the bin is fully closed. Extra bags of waste will not be collected.

"Overloaded bins will not be collected due to health and safety concerns - moving heavy bins could injure our collection team members. In addition, the lifting mechanism on our refuse vehicles will not lift any bin which exceeds the permitted weight.

Councillor Walker with the rubbish

Councillor Walker with the rubbish

However, Coun Walker, of Mansfield Independent Forum, said an increasing number of residents in his Newlands ward in Forest Town were coming to him with bin problems.

He said that a lot were struggling to fit their waste in the green, general waste wheelie bins and found they were "overflowing with waste".

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Coun Walker said: "It is getting worse.

"I am not blaming the binmen, they get told what to do, so they have to do as they are told. You can't blame them if they don't take it, because they get into trouble if they do.

"I have left it with the powers at be to make a change - so let's see what happens in this next week or so."

And Coun Walker claimed the decision to not empty open bins was made by council officers and not elected councillors.

He has also claimed the council was looking at reducing the size of people's bins across the district - a similar move took place in neighbouring Ashfield last year in a bid to improve recycling rates.

Coun Walker - who said residents would have to pay for a larger bin - said: "The bins are overflowing now - what is it going to be like with smaller bins?

"And why should you pay for a bigger bin when you already had one? It is just another cost going on - something has to be done about it.

"Giving them a smaller bin may last a week, maybe more, but not two weeks.

"So bins are going to be overflowing when the binmen come and then they won't take it."

However, the council has said it has no plans to change the size of the bins.

A council spokeswoman said: "There are no plans to reduce the size of bins. We provide 180 litre green bins for collection of non-recyclable household waste.

"Some homes may still have a 240 litre capacity green refuse bin. These have been phased out over a number of years and are no longer supplied. Bins that replace lost, stolen or damaged bins will be 180 litres."

Following his symbolic protest, Coun Walker cleaned the rubbish up.

Mike Robinson, Director of Economic Growth, said: “Mansfield District Council, like many councils across the country, has a standard policy of only emptying bins that have closed lids for environmental and health and safety reasons. This helps to reduce littering and vermin, and keeps the public and our crews safe.

“Mansfield already has a low recycling rate compared to other councils in Nottinghamshire and we need to recycle more to reach our target of recycling 50% of our waste by 2020.

“Latest figures show that 20% of all rubbish in green bins could be recycled and we encourage all residents to be Bin smart and recycle more in their blue bin. Find out more about what to recycle at www.mansfield.gov.uk/recycling.”

Mansfield District Council have been contacted for a response.