One of the new recycling bags
One of the new recycling bags

A review into the controversial roll-out of new recycling bags across Lichfield and Burntwood is being launched.

Cllr Liz Little, Lichfield District Council’s new cabinet member responsible for the joint waste service, said the implementation and operation would be examined in detail over the coming weeks.

It comes after the local authority had previously admitted that some of the new bags distributed to homes for card and paper were a third smaller than they should have been.

Cllr Little said she was keen to understand how the scheme – which sees some households use purple bins instead of the blue bags – could be improved.

“We know that there have been some teething problems with the roll out of the service, but we also know that the same system has been successfully adopted in other councils across the UK.

“I want to understand why we experienced problems and what, if anything, we should, or can, do to make improvements.

“The rollout of the new service completed last Friday, and we can now access collection data to give us performance information to inform the review.”

Cllr Liz Little, Lichfield District Council

Cllr Little took on the post following the decision by the previous cabinet member responsible, Cllr Ashley Yeates, to stand down from the cabinet.

She said:

“Since taking on this role a few weeks ago I have been monitoring the roll out closely and I can confirm that additional crews and rounds are now being deployed to ensure that future collections are not missed.

“I will continue to look at the customer experience whilst balancing that with the imperative that we separate our waste effectively.

“There have been complaints about the new process and the review will consider all of these and balance these against the options that we have available to us.”

Cllr Liz Little, Lichfield District Council

A Lichfield District Council spokesperson confirmed the review would begin this week and “conclude as soon as possible”.

Join the Conversation

50 Comments

Our volunteers moderated 1142 comments in the last 30 days. Say thanks with a coffee.

  1. I wonder if it could be an idea to let people who want one have a purple bin instead of numerous bags

  2. and still they forget the disabled , elderly and vunerable. who rely on carers to do the bins, and have large medical supplies delivered in very large boxes, My carer managed to break down 2 of the boxes out of 11 and the bag was nearly full which was filled with the various other bits out of the very few bits that can be recycled now. rang council they said you will need to take it to the tip, What am I meant to do, strap it to the back of my wheelchair?

  3. Our street was never a thing of beauty with lines of wheelie bins all down the approach to the houses. It now resembles a war zone, with blue bags littering all over the place.

    North Warks Council used to run a scheme like this, although they at least provided a box for paper that lodged neatly in the top of the recycling bin. However, they abandoned it after a few years because it didn’t work

  4. As mentioned before we have 2 blue bins !!! A pink sticker costing less than £1 stuck to 1 of them and we can use that for cardboard/paper and the other for normal recycling?.
    I think we could go a month doing this for the cardboard/paper bin if needed ?….even the guys collecting the bins think this is the easiest option but as usual no one listens to the workers.

  5. It’s a shambles. I put my flat packed cardboard that was too big for the bag next to the blue bin. This is as instructed to do so by the council website. It was not collected. Why not? There was nothing to stop the refuse collectors doing their job. There was no info as to why it wasn’t collected. This is ridiculous, I put more rubbish in my black bin nowadays than I ever used to. It’s a disaster for the environment if this kind of scenario is being repeated in towns and cities up and down the country…but the council will mark it as a success because they have reduced costs…

  6. Since having the blue bag it has resulted in me recycling at least 75% less of paper and cardboard as after only 4 days of ripping cutting and squashing everything down there was no more to room with another 10 days to go. The only alternative was to throw it into the normal rubbish bin which is going backwards????

  7. We now put more in the black bin. No room for the blue bag in the kitchen/house. But we have room outside for our old 2 blue bins so why not a sticker on one for paper and the collection would be easy for collection team. The bags are a poor alternative.

  8. @TheRev – contact your councillor and get them involved. We were assured that individual solutions would be put in place for circumstances like yours so you should never have been given that ‘advice’ on the phone. If you want to email me your address I can give you the contact details for your councillor – joanne.grange@lichfielddc.gov.uk

  9. Time for the council to admit failure.

    Failed collections, reduced recycling rates, and likely additional costs to keep with the rounds.

    Will injuries due to efforts to get recycling into the bags either by cutting and standing be considered?

  10. The obvious conclusion i have reached about the new blue bags is that impaired people will not be able to cut up store in such a small volume and the weight of a full bag will be to much to heavy to manouvre without causing them a potentially serious injury.
    As a final comment will council workers remove wet contents as the sealing of these bags is hit and miss or people won’t bother at all .
    I might add i am not impaired, i am getting old, and i am fighting for something better than this ridculous scheme.

  11. We have 2 blue bins at the moment (after 2 weeks we generally always need these). Not confident the bags will improve recycling rate/customer satisfaction though, or the street scene post-collection. Another bin (different colour) would seem the best option (but depends on the collection vehicle design – or will there be 2 recycle collection vehicles??).

  12. I ordered extra Blue Bag weeks ago. As we were told we could request extra Bag…..Still not forthcoming.

  13. I had my blue bag last Friday. Really struggled to flatten the boxes to get them in the bag. Had 3 large horse feed bags to go in, struggled to stop the folded cardboard popping up as I tried to get the bags in. The velcro has not been sewn on the bag correctly so the lid won’t stop closed. By Monday I put the blue bag complete with the folded cardboard pushing everything out into the back if my car and drove up to Burntwood tip to put it in the cardboard skip. In my mid 70’s I can’t be doing this every week. I think it will be a weekly bonfire in my back garden.

  14. Why didn’t the council consult with residents first? It is patently obvious that this is a process that has failed and been abandoned by other authorities. I have had my blue bag since Friday and it’s already full and I am a single person.
    Clearly an inept process led by inept councillors who fail to engage with the local communities

  15. I put a quantity of shredded documents in the blue bag yesterday, as per council instructions, on top of the other papers. When I retrieved my bin this morning, the papers were gone, but the shredded paper remained.
    Advice, please.

  16. Joanne Grange just publish the contact details of all councillors and their wards so we can all complain to our local councillors and maybe the LDC will have a change of heart and do something that is sensible for a change.
    Which does not cost the rate payers.

  17. It says the roll out was completed last Friday. We still haven’t got our blue bag, nor my neighbour. I rang them over a week ago and was told we would be supplied a bag, but received nothing yet. Consequently my blue bin contains mixed recycling due for collection today. We will see if they take it or not but if they don’t I shall get my councillor on the case. Poor service and poorly thought out so far. Living on main road makes the bags easy to steal once emptied so this could be an interesting journey.

  18. What else will be next to have it’s on bag /bin ? Will it be we have 8 bins to seperate all recycling. I thought they did it all at the recycling facility? Bins are taking over our streets & it looks terrible. I’m disabled and have little use or mobility of my hands so breaking down box’s isn’t easy. I’ve given up and just put it in the black bin.

  19. This is without a doubt a backwards step. The main recycling bin is less than half full after 2 weeks, the general waste bin is now overflowing with the cardboard that won’t physically fit in the blue bag and the blue bag is tattered due to trying to get the cardboard into it. The local tip still operates on appointments so i can’t just pop in. I am an able bodied man and I struggle with these blue bags what chance has an elderly or disabled person got? No consideration for the extra space needed at home to keep the mounting cluster of multicoloured bins either. Where should the smaller terraced homes put these 4 bins? On the narrow footway outside? What about the children and parents who have to walk in the road to get past the bins on a daily basis? Oh and the increasing level of pavement parked cars? We will soon need pedestrian lanes next to the cycle lanes to to get anywhere.

  20. Massive step backwards, as previous comments I have found that I am just recycling less as I throw stuff in my main rubbish bin rather than spend hours of my life flattening and neatly packing card into a bag. Really poor solution. Purple bin, fair enough I have no problem with that.

  21. The bags are way to small.filled within a few days..no space to store them and majority like everyone else is filling the black bin.This isn’t helping the enviroment in anyway.quiet the opposite..

  22. Our black bin is now half full of cardboard/paper & totally full. Blue bins is almost empty. I ordered an extra bag via LDC website weeks ago – nothing has arrived. This scheme was abandoned in parts of Kent & Leeds in 2019 I predict we will go back to old system soon as recycling rates are greatly reduced. This was all about saving money & getting a higher price for recycling. It was doomed to failure before start as in Kent & Leeds. Problem for LDC & Tamworth is another shot in the foot.

  23. It’s the refuse collectors I feel sorry for. It must make their jobs much worse, plus all the bending and checking inside the bags can’t be good long-term for their health. I’ve really tried to get on board with the change as I know human nature is opposed to such things, but I’ve found I’m recycling less and putting more cardboard in the black bin due to the size and fiddly nature of the bags. My next-door neighbour is doing the same. I suspect there is more cardboard and paper going to landfill now across the county than previously. Will be interesting to see the stats, if anyone is taking the time to measure this. We might never really know.

  24. @Banging Head Against Wall – all the contact details for councillors, along with their wards, are on LDC’s website on this link: https://democracy.lichfielddc.gov.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx?bcr=1.

    If you don’t know which ward you’re in, the Write to Them website is useful.

    Some councillors, myself included, have been vocal in our views about the blue bags, but I fear we are also banging our heads against walls.

  25. Not more bins !!!where will we find room for it??? .just go back to the way it was ,worked perfectly well in my opinion

  26. Bag too small to fit in all of the paper and having to cut up the cardboard is ridiculous. Life’s too short. Also bag full after first week and falling over it in the kitchen trying to keep contents dry. Would much prefer a second bin.

  27. I have reluctantly start using the rubbish bag, myself a 3 neighbors share 2 blue bin’s, so I’ve drilled 2 very fine holes in the sides of the one bin attached 2 hooks and hung the blue bag in the one bin, I thing more people will stop recycling, because of the idiotic council

  28. Am 85 with a back problem. Blue bag far too heavy to carry. Everything worked perfectly before. Also I haven’t room for a further bin!
    No thought had gone into this blue bag addition.

  29. Within four days my blue bag was full along with my black bin! I had no alternative other than to burn the cardboard and paper in my garden incinerator as I didn’t want to waste my valuable diesel driving to Burntwood recycling centre to dispose of it!

  30. What a laugh last week when they came to collect the recycling bags we watched them empty the bags into the blue bins then empty the blue bin onto the bin truck

  31. I’ve gone backwards, don’t recycle anymore.
    Probably even better, I’ve had minimise waste bc restricted to black bin only.

  32. Shawty they have a blue bin attached to the back of the wagon they empty the bags into, they don’t empty them into customers bins

  33. Sadly, all of my neighbours who I have spoken to are having issues with this new arrangement and have resorted to putting almost everything into their black bin.
    Totally contradicts the whole purpose of recycling and doing our bit for the environment.
    I hope somebody in LDC sees sense and sorts this mess out.

  34. Perhaps this scheme was thought up in lockdown over cheese and wine parties whilst the rest of us stood outside care homes and watched our loved ones decline in health through a closed window. MP’s and councillors disgust me to the point of nausea. My surplus will be put in the general waste bin or burnt in the garden. So much for the battery cars if we are not recycling and burning our waste once again. Staffordshire Council is a complete joke, you can’t even speak to anyone about this or any highways issue just left hanging on the line in a queue until you lose the will to live. Anyone else have trees and large weeds growing in the gutters? We do all over Amington Tamworth. It’s like the lost city and I pay close to £2500 a year for the privilege. What about we all ask for a rebate?? You may have to take a pay cut if we paid for the services we actually receive.

  35. “The rollout was completed last Friday”. Well, we’ve not yet been supplied with a blue bag so on Wednesday our blue bin was not emptied because we had not used the blue bag that we have not got! And now we have to empty our bin to remove any paper / card into a bag of our own. I fully support recycling but this is a shambles. And I have real concerns how elderly / people with disabilities can manage this new system.

  36. I’m a huge fan of recycling and the importance for the environment.
    However, I have to say the new blue bag scheme feels ill thought through and amateurish in its execution. It’s right the cabinet member who implemented the scheme stepped down, but it won’t solve for a poorly executed strategy.

  37. Change is good, but unfortunately not in this case. There are so many negative reasons for this new recycling approach but most of all this is a discouraging way to the public to recycle. People simply won’t bother or misuse other bins more so. Common sense is required and unfortunately people in the council have none. People would much prefer a extra purple wheelie bin which obviously would encourage recycling more and less cross contamination of items.

  38. L.D.C. Please allow me to save you and the battered and bruised tax payers of our area, much time and expense.

    Forget Consultants, pretentious think tanks, spreadsheets and all of the previous guff that as gone before and is still going on.

    Bottom line, landfill and incineration levels, separately or combined will now increase by between 40 and 50% at best.Absolutely disastrous numbers in anyone’s eyes. Some joined up thinking and plain commonsense would be of enormous benefit and relief to us all.

  39. Terrible system. My new blue bag is full already, with still a week till the next collection. Meanwhile the blue bin is almost empty. Everyone should have been given the option of another bin instead of these flimsy bags, which are too small and not fit for purpose.

  40. Managed to fill our blue bag within 2 days after an Amazon delivery with the blue bin almost empty, so now it’s all going in the black bin which is now full. We used to recycle as much as we can but now we won’t bother and it can all go in the general rubbish. The blue bags needs to be twice size or use the blue bin for cardboard and the bags for other items. Would be interested to see if the amount going to landfill increases over the next few months

  41. As someone who lives in a flat and I’ve long term ill-health, I’m only able to manage taking my recycling stuff to the wheelie bin every fortnight. The recycling bags have made it more difficult for me to recycle cardboard because it has to be the size of the small recycling bag to fit in. And when there is windy weather I have struggled to keep hold of the recycling bag while trying to put cardboard in. The council said the bags have been weighted to stop them blowing about but has turned out not enough for very windy weather. There should be an option to have a separate wheelie bin for cardboard for vulnerable people like the elderly, disabled, people with long term ill-health living on their own.

  42. Does anybody be remember the green boxes for separating recycling . They were replaced with the blue bins where everything went in together , now we have a blue bag to separate again .
    Oh the okey kokey you put your one bin out you bring it back in. You take your one bag out it gets shaken about. Then you do it all again.

  43. I’ve heard from someone who works as a ‘binman’ that having to empty the bags as well as the bins has slowed them and some rounds are only half to three quarters completed before knocking off time

  44. Just to put the cat amongst the pidgeons, I only had my blue bag delivered last week and I am yet to see what all the fuss is about. The bag is similar in size to the width and breadth of the blue bin and will fit in the top using the the handles. Boxes were meant to flattened before they went into the blue bin anyway and I previously had to break up large boxes to get them in. So what is the difference? I am sure the council would have got feedback from other councils who are already using this method with success, before deciding to go down this route ( unless of course you are of the opinion that the council only exists to make everyone’s life as difficult as possible). It’s too early to say if the system will be a success or not, but I think we should at least give it a try for a few months. It always takes time to bed in a new system and there will always be teething problems. People are very quick to criticise, rather than try and find a way to make the system work for your own specific circumstances. If you regularly have a lot of large boxes, I am sure that I read that these can be left (flattened) next to the bin/bag. If you have a specific concern, call the council and I’m sure they will try and find a solution for you. After all, it’s in their interest to make it work for everyone. We have become a very lazy nation who expect everything to be done for them and who don’t like to be inconvenienced. I’m sure that many people didn’t bother to flatten boxes before because they could drop them whole into the bin. These are the only ones who will have a problem with the new system. Let’s at least try it for a few weeks before we throw it away and if you have a problem with it, look at how you could change what you do, rather than blame the council who are only implementing this to save money for all residents.

  45. @Jilly: I’m holding fire on this too. I only got the blue bag just over a week ago, but I’d been saving my paper and cardboard for a few weeks and it all fits. However, I don’t have many big boxes, and when I do I tend to take a load to the tip. Now I’ve started taking the tetrapaks there too. I’m still wondering how the rather poor quality bag is going to cope with the wind and rain when it’s put out this week. Also not that keen on having it back in the house after it’s had a soaking. However, I have got space for a purple bin if that’s an option.

Leave a comment
Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy before posting.

Your email address will not be published.