Tough new recycling rules sees binmen refusing to collect bins in Lincolnshire
Bin men have refused to collect rubbish from hundreds of homes under a tough new recycling regime.
Refuse collectors in North Kesteven have rejected a total of 705 "green" bins since October 8.
It comes after the district council changed its recycling contractor.
Bin men are now being told to inspect household rubbish and leave any load which breaches the strict new guidelines.
The authority confirmed "a handful" of residents have complained about the change.
But the Taxpayers' Alliance has hit out at the new policy, which came into force on October 8.
Earlier this year, NKDC awarded its refuse collection contract to Leeds-based HW Martin Waste.
The council previously paid for the bins to be collected, but HW Martin is now paying the council and making money by selling on salvageable waste materials such as glass, paper and metals.
The decision to go with the company is understood to have saved NKDC hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Under the new policy, recycling bins are being inspected vigorously before being emptied to make sure they do not contain any contaminating items.
In the first week of the new regime, NKDC's refuse collectors left 283 bins without being emptied – an average of 56 per day.
Mark Taylor, NKDC's head of environment and public protection, said: "We were in a fortunate position where the contractor was willing to pay us money to take waste off our hands.
"HW Martin have to make money off the waste by selling on materials, from card and paper to plastic and metals, so it has to be of a quality that enables them to do that.
"But if all the paper and card is contaminated then it's not going to have a value.
"That's why it's more of an imperative that residents make sure their recycling is clean.
"We've been paying people for the privilege of taking away waste, but the material has a real value when it's in good condition.
"So now we're contractually obliged to make sure it's the best it can be.
"If we hadn't made that saving, which is a six-figure sum, then it would have impacted directly on people's council tax."
The district council – which has won praise for the amount of rubbish it recycles – admits it expects to see an increase in the amount it sends to landfill.
Councillor Geoff Hazelwood, executive board member with responsibility for recycling, said that if a bin is not collected, residents will have to remove the offending item in time for the next collection.
The Taxpayers' Alliance has hit out at the new recycling policies.
Robert Oxley, the group's campaign manager, said: "Lincolnshire residents pay an incredible amount in council tax and for that they should at least be able to expect their bins to be emptied."