The leader of Brentwood Council has hit back at complaints over the borough’s new recycling system.
Brentwood had collected commingled dry recyclables excluding glass in orange sacks on a weekly basis up until the changes, which have removed the need for 3.5million plastic sacks to be sent to landfill, were brought in on August 3.
Glass is collected separately from the kerbside, with householders provided a red box with which to present the material.
Now collections are in reusable blue and white sacks to help the environment and increase the worth of the recyclable materials.
White is for plastic and cans and blue is for paper and cardboard.
The new collection service is a part of the council’s efficiency savings and will help bridge the £1million gap in government funding, by generating a saving of around £100,000 a year – mainly by having to avoid the purchase of around 3.5million orange sacks every year.
However, some people say they are “already sick” of the large nylon bags that can be used for at least five years.
A petition signed by 383 people, states: “We are asking Brentwood Borough Council to give us back our orange recycling bags or even better, colour coded wheelie bins like most towns all over the UK have.
“We want the council to take these huge, useless bags away and stop thinking about saving money as our taxes are not being saved and we, the people paying our council taxes, expect our money to be used to make our lives better and not a chore like these bags have already become.”
Brentwood Council leader, Councillor Chris Hossack, said: “Every year we produced millions of single use orange sacks and we know the agenda is to reduce single use plastic.
“Over five years, which is the lifespan of these sacks, we are saving tens of millions of single use plastic bags going into the system.
“If we are serious about a green agenda we have got to be serious about reducing single use plastic.
“And by splitting the recyclate at source we get more money for it when we take it to the recycling plant.
“It is about reducing cost on the one hand and increasing revenue on the other.”
He added that for those elderly and living alone, half-sized bags are being made available.
“People adhered to it pretty well in the first week, next week it will get better and by three or four weeks everyone will be asking what was the fuss all about,” he added.
“I’m convinced of it.”
A Brentwood Borough Council spokesperson said: “The new recycling scheme means that 3.5 million single use orange bags will no longer be used which is a positive impact on the environment.
“The majority of residents have adjusted to the changes, but we understand some have raised concerns and we are addressing these.
“For example, smaller recycling sacks have been ordered to help those who find accommodating the larger bags difficult.
“The first week of the new scheme has just taken place and is being reviewed to ensure any improvements that can be made are made.”