Household rubbish left out on a Wellingborough street will be monitored over the coming weeks as part of a pilot project to stop excess landfill waste.
Minerva Way in the town has been identified as a hotspot for 'side waste' - additional black bags of rubbish left out with wheelie bins.
Wellingborough Council is not supposed to collect black bin side waste as it increases landfill costs and reduces recycling rates. But a number of areas in the town regularly leave out additional bags which, if not collected, can end up as litter that has to be picked up by street cleaners.
Councillor Peter Morrall, chairman of the council's community committee, said: "It's our current policy that side waste put out with the black bins should not be collected. This is to encourage residents to separate their rubbish and recycle more. Landfill tax alone is £80 per tonne, not including disposal charge, and this goes up every year. This is taxpayers' money and it could be much better spent.
"However, if people put out extra black bin bags and we don't collect them, the bags can split open and rubbish blows everywhere. We then have to pick it up as litter. It seems ridiculous that on the one hand we ask refuse collectors to leave bags as they're not supposed to collect them, but on the other we ask our street cleansing teams to pick them up on their rounds so we don't get litter everywhere. We need to find a solution to this problem.
"What we want to do is make people aware of why side waste isn't acceptable and to advise them on ways to reduce the amount of black bin waste they produce. If people recycle more they should be able to contain their household waste in the black bin easily, with no need for additional bags.
"We're not intending to take enforcement action at this stage - just identify where these extra bags are coming from and whether or not the contents could be recycled rather than dumped in landfill."
The pilot project will see employees from Wellingborough Norse, the council's waste services partner, monitoring the excess rubbish on Friday mornings before the bins are emptied. They will then visit any addresses they consider would benefit from advice and support.
If successful, the project could be extended to other areas of the town.
Wellingborough Council does accept side waste with green bin collections, as long as the recycling isn't in black bags. Clear sacks, supermarket carrier bags and cardboard boxes will all be collected alongside green bins as long as the contents can be seen to be only recyclable material.
More information about recycling is available from Wellingborough Norse on 01933 234 520 or on our waste and recycling pages.