The borough plans to use a penalty card system of progressively firmer warnings for residents who persistently fail to recycle, and will refuse to collect their un-segregated waste.
The penalty system is likely to start with friendlier green card reminders for residents to recycle, followed by blue card reminders – the last time the council will collect a household’s un-separated waste. Warnings will then get more serious, with yellow and red cards, where collection crews will refuse to collect waste that has not been segregated. Failure to respond to any of these warnings will result in a final formal notice.
Bromley environmental development manager Alastair Ballie said: “Other boroughs have taken the approach of threatening their residents with fines. But that’s not our ethos. Our approach to residents is that recycling will save on both council tax and resources.”
That’s not to say Bromley will not be prepared to go to court. Ballie continued:
“We want to be firm but fair – it’s about striking a balance.
“We are not in the business of taking residents to court but if they want to take us to court, that’s fine.”
Bromley’s current recycling rate is about 27.5% and it hopes that the compulsory recycling will push it up to the mid-30s. It had been working on the policy for about three years, and watched Barnet closely – who were invited to address one of Bromley’s committee meetings.
Shifting to the new policy will involve changing collection days across the whole borough. Households will receive a letter three weeks before the new regime, with a reminder card a week before. Enforcement will be rolled out in five phases, between July and March 2007.