Council's rubbish bags turn up in Spain

A SPANISH donkey has been making an ass out of an Essex council.

Roddy Ashworth

A SPANISH donkey has been making an ass out of an Essex council.

Because residents of Colchester have realised that their “green” recycling sacks, issued for collecting garden waste, are so hardy they can be used to carry almost anything.

And ever since the local council started giving out the toughened eco-bags, which should only be used for doorstep collection of compostable items, they have instead been spotted being used by builders' merchants, fishermen, shoppers and even removal firms.

But, according to the council's waste supremo Tim Young, the last straw was when he was sent these pictures of a Spanish donkey - kitted out with Colchester recycling sacks as saddlebags.

“I thought 'well this is it, I've seen it all now,'” said Mr Young.

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“We had already got evidence that people were using them for other things. Staff saw people taking stuff to the dump in them, for example.

“But the donkey really was the end of the line.

“We had been giving them out free, but found we could hardly keep up with demand - as soon as we got stocks in people would say they needed replacements.

“It became totally uneconomical.”

Now the council has introduced a scheme whereby anyone wanting a garden waste sack has to pay �3.20 for it.

“If people bring their old sack and can demonstrate it is worn out, we will replace it for free. Otherwise they have to pay.

“We are not making a profit, just covering our costs. Hopefully they will now be used in the intended way.

“I think that previously, whenever people wanted a heavy duty bag, we were being seen as a soft touch.”

He added that he doubted any action would be taken against the owner of the Spanish donkey.

“But who knows. I'll take legal advice on it,” he said. “He certainly tried to make an ass of us.”