LITTER bins in Henley are overflowing because people dump household waste in them, it has been claimed.
As the Henley Standard reported last week, town councillors David Eggleton and Kellie Hinton say they have received a growing number of complaints about bins filling up so quickly that rubbish is left beside them or scattered in the street.
In recent weeks, this has been witnessed in Greys Road near Makins recreation ground and in parts of Church Street, New Street, Reading Road and Marlow Road.
The bins are only meant for street litter such as drinks bottles and food wrappers but South Oxfordshire District Council says some residents are using them for domestic waste, which is illegal as it counts as fly-tipping and is punishable by a fine of up to £2,500 if found guilty by a court.
When the Henley Standard inspected several bins on Monday, the waste items included egg cartons, cereal packets, shopping receipts, cling-film cartons, kitchen and toilet roll tubes as well as sealed carrier bags and cardboard boxes filled with rubbish.
A bin at the top of Hamilton Avenue, next to the alleyway leading to Church Street, was overflowing despite having been emptied on Friday.
The district council, which is responsible for the bins, says it has received reports that domestic waste is being put in public bins at certain locations. Councillor Tony Harbour, cabinet member for waste, said: “I am aware of concerns that household waste is being put into some of the street bins. We are actively monitoring these areas and putting notices on the bins where it’s happening.
“If we can identify the people responsible we will contact them to tell them to stop putting household rubbish into public bins. We will also take enforcement action if necessary.”
The council said its contractor Biffa emptied bins in busier areas of Henley every day and either once or twice a week elsewhere and the rota had not changed.
“We will increase the collections if need be,” said Councillor Harbour.
Councillor Eggleton said people might be dumping the contents of their green household recycling bins because Biffa won’t collect them if they contain non-recyclable items such as nappies or food waste. He said: “This week I’ve seen several bins which have filled up within days of being emptied so it’s a genuine problem. Some of them are in a terrible state.
“I don’t think people would go out of their way to do this if their own bins weren’t full. The council is fussy about what it will pick up but a lot of people don’t know what you can and can’t put in green bins.
“The rules aren’t crystal clear and need to be more widely publicised. Some people put most of their rubbish in their grey bin for landfill instead of taking the risk that their green bin won’t be emptied.”
A list of acceptable materials for recycling is available on the district council’s website, which also has a “recycleopedia” function allowing people to search for individual items. If an item can’t be collected, you will be given directions to the nearest recycling centre. Residents can also phone or write to the council for guidance.
Henley town, district and county councillor David Nimmo Smith said he inspected 20 bins on Sunday and only three in Deanfield Road, Friday Street and Mount View were full and only the last of these was overflowing.
He said: “The claims about ‘overflowing bins all over the place’ or ‘bins are not being emptied as often’ do not stand up to scrutiny.
“I will be assessing the areas where bins can overflow to see if the present bins are all fit for purpose or if larger bins are needed. We all know that Henley is the jewel of the Thames Valley and we want to keep it that way.”
Henley district councillor Joan Bland said the bin outside Asquiths teddy bear shop in New Street, which she runs, was often full and she believed the dumping of household waste was partly to blame.
She said: “You can’t blame Biffa, who do an excellent job. I wish we could fine the people responsible on the spot.”
Residents can report concerns about a bin to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03000 610610.
• The district council has warned that from next month recycling bins will not be emptied if they contain black or coloured sacks.