Litter rejected as 'wrong type of waste'

WHEN a bunch of hardy volunteers finished a litter pick and tried to dump the rubbish at a county council site, they were told it was the “wrong type of waste”.

Richard Smith

HARDY volunteers gave up their free time and dodged snow showers to collect rubbish blighting part of Woodbridge.

But when they tried to dispose of the litter at a Suffolk County Council site they were told it was the “wrong type of waste”.

The puzzled band of volunteers were warned a fine of up to £20,000 could be imposed if the rubbish was left in a skip at the Foxhall waste site near Ipswich.

And just as they were trying to work out what to do with the litter, they were told they could be guilty of fly-tipping if they took it back to Woodbridge.

So the volunteers gathered up the 40 bags of rubbish and them on a trailer which was taken to the home of Robin Pivett, a Rotarian living in Kesgrave, while the county council tried to sort out the confusion.

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The council did collect the bags yesterday - and staff congratulated the Rotary Club of Woodbridge for organising the event. But Rotarians urged the council to use more commonsense in future.

The litter pick took place on Sunday as part of the Keep Suffolk Tidy fortnight and to support BBC Radio Suffolk's Don't be a Tosser campaign.

More than 30 people including Rotarians, town councillors and staff, residents and staff from East Suffolk Mind, members of the Woodbridge Society and the Horticultural Society, and members of the public from Woodbridge and Ipswich collected the rubbish.

A Rotarian spokesman said: “Rather than leave a pile of full bin bags in Woodbridge - in order to prevent the contents from being strewn everywhere by the weather - the bags were conveyed to Foxhall waste site.

“Staff at the site refused to allow the bags to be deposited in the skip, quoting that it was trade waste and would have to go straight to the landfill site where payment would have to be made. However, the landfill site is closed on Sundays.

“If the litter were deposited in the skip there would be a £20,000 fine as this was now treated as trade waste. If it was returned to Woodbridge, the organiser would be prosecuted for fly-tipping.

“It was explained that over 30 people had given their time up free of charge. Staff at the site contacted their on-call supervisor who would not budge.”

Mark Deer, the council's waste services manager, said: “Unfortunately the site can not accept that type of waste.

“Waste is categorised - we cannot take in everything and if we are caught accepting waste not permitted under our licence we could be prosecuted.

“We fully support what the Rotary Club are doing but people organising litter picks must organise in advance how they are going to dispose of waste.”

Mr Deer added the Rotarians had arranged for the litter to be collected in Woodbridge by the district council but had then decided to take it to Foxhall to stop it being blown away.

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