Serial non-recyclers could face £75 fine
RESIDENTS who consistently refuse to recycle their rubbish could be issued with a £75 fine.
North Somerset Council says it will implement the fines as a last resort for those who put items which could have been recycled in with their general rubbish.
The move follows 'sampling' of refuse bags from homes across the district. Black refuse sacks, collected from properties by council waste contractors, were opened and checked to see if any of the rubbish in them could have been recycled.
North Somerset is the second best unitary authority for recycling in the country and the best in the south west and currently recycles around 61 per cent of its rubbish.
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Council spokeswoman Zoe Briffitt said: "We want to take positive action to encourage people to recycle more.
"Those failing to recycle could face enforcement action and be issued with a fine. However this would be something that we would only do as a last resort and is not a route we particularly want to take.
"We would much rather focus on how we can help people to recycle and give them every opportunity to do so."
The authority says recycling problems are worst in urban areas where there are flats and residents do not have the space to separate and store their recycling and rubbish.
It is now considering setting up 'mini recycling centres' in these areas, with dedicated banks for rubbish and recycling.
Leaflets will also be put through doors advising people on how to recycle and in some cases residents may be visited at home by council staff who will offer help and advice.
The move comes after research revealed up to 50 per cent of rubbish in black bags taken to tips could actually be recycled.
In 2011/12, the council recycled 61,261 tonnes of waste, compared to just 22,164 tonnes in 2005/6 – an increase of 177 per cent.
The amount of waste sent to landfill reduced by two-thirds in the same period from 80,000 to 30,000 tonnes.