NEW Forest District Council has apologised for a social media post urging residents not to put out bulky cardboard boxes on bin day.
The authority was slammed for its “crass” message, in which it offered to pick up cardboard rubbish for a £30 fee, coming as people have been encouraged amid the pandemic not to visit shops and order online instead.
The council said sorry, and claimed it had been intended to discourage trade waste being left for the bin lorries.
Cllr David Harrison, leader of NFDC’s Liberal Democrat opposition group, hit out after the authority asked residents not to place big cardboard packaging with regular rubbish but store it in their homes or gardens to take it to a waste tip.
It also suggested residents could pay NFDC £30 to dispose of it or enlist a private waste contractor.
Cllr Harrison said: “I cannot believe the council could tie itself into knots about waste cardboard when they only have to open their eyes and see exactly what the situation is out on the streets across our district.
“We have all been locked down for months. We are allowed out for essential journeys only. It is hardly surprising then that collectively we have turned to online retailers to buy items we need, which in turn has meant more waste packaging. It’s not hard to understand.”
Calling NFDC’s recycling record “abysmal”, he added: “To ask residents to now find other ways – including paying yet more money to the council – for its disposal is crass and insensitive, especially for residents in flats or smaller properties.”
An NFDC spokesperson said in response that the social media post, which has since been taken down, was sent out because collectors were seeing up to around 25% more waste at the kerbside, including a lot of trade waste.
She said: “Our social media post was intended to explain that trade waste can be collected but there is a charge for doing so.
“It was not intended to discourage our residents from recycling cardboard. We are sorry that it caused confusion and the post has been deleted.
“Cardboard can be put in the clear sack as one of the six items we can recycle at the kerbside.” To find out more visit www.newforest.gov.uk/recyclingandrubbish