Belfast Telegraph

Belfast binmen put blue bin rubbish into landfill lorry, says angry resident

By Mark Edwards

A row has broken out after a Belfast resident spotted binmen putting his recycling waste into a lorry bound for landfill.

Nigel Downey, from Fortwilliam Crescent in north Belfast, spotted the refuse collectors putting the content of both his blue and black bins into the same bin lorry on Wednesday morning.

He said: "I was watching my bin collection this morning but to my horror I noticed the contents of both my blue and black bins went into the same lorry.

"I consider myself extremely green and recycle everything. I'm very clued up as to what can and cannot be recycled. Therefore I'm extremely annoyed to find my efforts of recycling being sent to landfill."

Mr Downey (44), a civil servant, said his neighbour has also complained about their recycling being put into lorries destined for landfill.

All bins in Belfast are collected on a fortnightly basis - the blue recycling bin one week, the black general waste and brown compost bin the next week.

If items which cannot be recycled are found in recycling bins, it is referred to as contamination. If contaminated waste is mixed with recycling material, the entire lorry-load could end up in landfill.

A Belfast City Council spokesperson said: "Blue and black bins are always collected on different days.

"Where a blue bin is found to have unrecyclable materials placed in it, the resident is advised to leave their blue bin out on their black bin collection day to allow our operatives to correct the situation.

"This is a very rare occurrence, and residents are then given guidance about separating their waste properly, and returning their blue bin to the correct recycling schedule.

"As this resident had presented their blue bin on black bin collection day, our operatives would have assumed such a scenario had occurred and were following standard procedure."

Mal O'Hara, north Belfast representative for the Green Party, said: "It's disappointing that someone who takes the time to recycle feels frustrated in this way.

"I know that Belfast City Council work hard to educate people about what should go into the blue and black bin.

"It seems on this occasion, they may need to do some education with staff.

"The council should be given the space and time to look into this report.

"In the meantime, people should keep on recycling - Belfast recycles more than we send to landfill."

Belfast Telegraph

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