PEOPLE in the Vale of Glamorgan have been complaining about missed rubbish collections after the council introduced changes to the way it takes recycling.

This month residents in the rural Vale have begun sorting their recycling into four new containers for card, paper, plastic, glass and cans.

But the changes, which took effect in rural areas from October 14, have led to some residents complaining that their collections have been days or even weeks late, with others instead having stickers on their bags if they’ve put the wrong things in their recycling.

Councillor Gordon Kemp, who represents the rural Rhoose ward in the Vale, said he has had complaints about missed recycling.

He said: “It’s teething problems but it shouldn’t be happening that people are waiting two to three days for recycling to be collected.

“It’s a new system so people are getting used to it. What the Vale council is trying to do is get people to only put out what can be recycled.

“Because they are having these issues with trying to let people know what they can recycle that’s taken longer than they thought. It’s not acceptable – people put their waste out in good faith and expect it to be collected on the day it’s supposed to be collected.

“It’s getting better – but it’s going to take time before it beds in.”

The recycling changes are due to be introduced in Barry in spring 2020 and Penarth, Dinas Powys, Sully and surrounding areas in summer next year.

But the issues affecting residents in rural areas have had a knock-on effect for residents across the Vale.

Deputy leader Councillor Lis Burnett said in a statement on Facebook: “Collecting separated recycling is a lot more labour-intensive and takes much more time particularly when our recycling teams are also learning a new system. The amount of waste and recycling to be collected also changes from week to week and so managing resources can be a challenge.

“Some crews have been moved to unfamiliar areas and so in addition to resource challenges they have to learn the new routes and initially do not have the local knowledge to reroute a collection if a road is inaccessible due to poorly-parked vehicles.

“While the new systems bed-in the council is trying to minimise disruption. Collection of black bag refuse is prioritised and many of our crews are working extended hours.

“If a collection is not completed on the scheduled day it will usually be picked up within 24 hours. If it’s still there 48 hours after it should have been collected it may have been overlooked and it is then helpful to let us know.”

The council banned plastic shopping bags from recycling collections last summer after accusing some residents of using them to hide food waste and soiled nappies.

It said entire lorry loads of recycling have been rejected at the processing centre due to the waste being contaminated.

A Vale of Glamorgan Council spokesman said: “Like all local authorities in Wales, the Vale of Glamorgan Council must reach ambitious statutory targets for the amount of waste that is recycled. Recycling is however only possible if the materials collected can be made into something else. This can only happen if the recycling is of high quality with low contamination. In other words, the quantity of other materials mixed in with it must be kept to an absolute minimum.

“We have introduced the new service as we see it as the most sustainable and appropriate way of moving towards a ‘zero waste’ position in years to come. We project this year that we will be close to, if not exceeding, the 70 per cent recycling target for 2025. This would mean that 70 per cent of the waste we collect is being turned into something else.

“As the Welsh Government promoted Waste Blueprint for Wales this system is already in use by other Welsh councils, where it has boosted both the quantity and quality of recycling and helped deliver financial savings. However, to be effective, we have to be careful not to accept items that cannot be recycled as part of this process. It is clear that the new recycling service is one of the most significant changes to waste management that this council has ever undertaken, primarily as for the first time ever we are leaving material on the kerbside if it doesn’t comply with the high standards we require for the material to have maximum value in the UK recycling markets.

“The material we advise is contamination is material that we cannot currently recycle and this includes plastic bags that could be carrier bags, crisp packets and soft plastic bags of all sizes that used to carry food. Due to the levels of interaction with our residents in the early stages of the service and our crews adapting to the new service and rounds we are not always completing our rounds on the correct day. I would apologise to our residents for any inconvenience caused by this and would ask that they bear with us, as the situation will improve as the service settles in over the next few weeks.     

“Prior to introducing the new service, we spent a long time talking to residents about the changes, and have put considerable effort into communicating the changes to the households affected. We appreciate the feedback we have received from residents to date and would thank the vast majority of households that are recycling all they can. We will continue to raise awareness of what can and cannot be recycled as the new service progresses also advising why recycling matters. This includes updated web pages and the A-Z of what materials should go in which container, based on some of the feedback and questions we have received in the first few weeks of the new service.”