Pembrokeshire county council in south Wales has announced that residents bringing waste to its six Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs) will be asked to demonstrate that they are not disposing of recyclable items.
The new measure will come into effect next month and will see residents asked to ensure bagged waste presented for disposal is free of recyclable materials.
If any recyclable materials are found householders “will be asked to remove them and simply place them in the recycling containers,” the council has said.
Material accepted at the sites for recycling or reuse includes dry recyclables, batteries, WEEE, furniture, textiles, scrap metal, plasterboard and wood. Non-recyclable waste is charged at £1.80 per bag for disposal at the sites.
The council said the stricter checks are being implemented in response to policies introduced by the Welsh government, which will see a fine of £140,000 for every percentage point missed of upcoming targets.
Pembrokeshire currently has a recycling rate of 60% but needs to reach the 64% by next year and 70% by 2024-25, to avoid facing future financial penalties.
In preparation for the roll-out of the system, staff at the six HWRCs in the county have been increasing awareness of the changes by handing out leaflets and explaining how the new bag-sorting scheme will operate.
Commenting on the scheme, councillor Cris Tomos, the council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “If recyclable items are in the general waste bags then householders will be asked to remove them and simply place them in the recycling containers.
“We are determined to improve to ensure that we hit our targets. If we fail, the council will be heavily fined, and it would be unacceptable to have to divert much needed cash from essential services.”
Pembrokeshire is not alone in introducing measures in its efforts to increase recycling rates this way, after similar measures were introduced by Neath Port Talbot council, which also warned it could take enforcement action if needed.
“We want to assure householders that, far from being a reduction in service, this is an initiative that will help everyone to dispose of the same amount of waste but in a better way,” Cllr Tomos added.
“Our operatives will offer on-site support to anyone who is unsure about the process, but our message is that these changes are not unique to Pembrokeshire.”
The move by Pembrokeshire comes as it is set to introduce two further changes to its waste service, including the introduction of a free fortnightly Absorbent Hygiene Products collection starting in August and more changes to the kerbside collection services from October.