Council highlights recycling confusion after crew attack

Following an assault on a crew member due to their refusal to take a contaminated bin, Slough borough council has pointed out the issue of recycling symbols on packaging confusing residents.

The incident saw a binman attacked with a hockey stick and headbutted on 23 June

The attack happened yesterday (22 June) due to a resident being upset about the recycling crew refusing to take their recycling bin due to contamination, the council explained.

It outlined that the resident “first attempted to hit the bin man with a hockey stick and then, when that was unsuccessful, headbutted him”.

According to the local authority, the bin man suffered minor injuries during the assault and the matter has been reported to the police.

As a result, the council is urging residents to be respectful of their bin men.

Councillor Mohammed Nazir, lead member for transport and the local environment, said: “We will not tolerate assaults on our bin men. Like all public sector staff – including NHS staff, emergency services and staff across the council – the bin men are doing their jobs, trying to earn a living, in difficult circumstances and they do not deserve to be abused, verbally or physically.”

As outlined below, there is often confusion about recycling pizza boxes and some retailers have launched more “environmentally friendly” options.


Slough sends its recycling to Grundon’s materials recycling facility in Colnbrook. Some items which can’t be collected in Slough include yoghurt pots and plastic trays, while some neighbouring authorities accept them.

A spokesperson for the council told that “some of the issues with contamination might be confusion with different areas offering different things.”

“The council has done a lot of publicity about our “just four” – types of things that can be recycled at kerbside. But what appears to be more confusing for residents than whether our neighbours do something differently is the array of packaging with the recycling symbol on it that can’t be recycled at the kerbside,” they added.

They explained that so many items that can’t be recycled at the kerb have “massive recycling symbols on them”, so when residents look at the symbol, they assume that it can be recycled.
Some examples are yoghurt pots or pizza boxes. Both have recycling symbols, but while the former is not collected, the latter can’t be recycled as soon as a pizza is put in them due to the food contaminating the cardboard. “But there is the logo – right on the front of the box,” the spokesperson continued.

“People look at the symbol and not at our website to make sure what can be recycled.”

Councils will have to provide every household and business with a plastic, paper and card, glass, metal and food waste collection service, and could eliminate some of the confusion.

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