Thursday, July 25, 2024

Contamination Blues

Cllr Victoria Holloway – Thurrock Council’s cabinet member for environment – is calling on local people to take care about what they put in their blue recycling bins.

Speaking at Wednesday (11 July) evening’s meeting of the council’s cabinet, where a report mentioned a 16 per cent “contamination” rate, Cllr Holloway said: “You might remember why we had to introduce the ban on recycling plastic bags – people were putting non-recyclables in the bags and then hiding them, whether deliberately or not, among their recycling.

“The problem is that this doesn’t just contaminate one blue bin’s worth of material, it can contaminate a whole lorry load.

“The whole point of introducing the three bin system was to save money. We’re still doing that, but nowhere near as much as we should be. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time, but this is far worse. The majority of Thurrock residents get it right – and thank you to them – but it seems some don’t know what they are doing or they don’t care. We have advised those residents about the problems with contaminating their blue recycling bins, but it still continues to be an issue.

“It is their thoughtlessness that is costing all of us. Because these rates are far higher than they should be, it is costing the council tax payer thousands of pounds extra as we have to pay for it to be sent to landfill instead. It is for these reasons that if any resident puts contaminated material in their blue recycling bins, the waste team will not be able to collect it.

“I ask every resident to take care and make sure the correct materials are placed in the right bin. Details of what should go in each of the bins – green/grey, blue and brown – are available on the council’s website at and the authority is increasing its efforts to promote what goes where.”


  1. Did taking back the bin collections actually save Thurrock Council any money?

    Can seem to find any mention of the TUPE pension liabilities for those staff transferred to Thurrock Council on any of the documentation that proclaimed massive savings for the council.

    Once you add the pension liabilities into the equation was there any real savings? Any why don’t the pension liabilities appear on the balance sheet when the savings were calculated?

  2. I might have had some sympathy for Cllr Holloway’s point of view if it wasn’t for the fact that, from time to time, the waste from all of the different bins ends up in the same rubbish truck. I have seen it happen and I believe I have read on YT before that others have too.

  3. How is the current recycling scheme saving money, three bin lorries rather than one, extra staff to man the lorries, more diesel costs for the lorries, more maintenance for the lorries.

    I think what the Cllr meant was the contamination is actually affecting the amount of money that TBC get from the recycling companies for the refuse they deliver…

  4. Cllr Victoria Holloway you appear to have taken the line of most Cabinet Members which is to blame the public. Instead of “lecturing” us and telling us our blue bin will not be emptied if it contains contaminated material you should examine the current system of waste collection and satisfy yourself that it is the owner of the bin who is to blame. The Council requires residents to place their bins on a public thoroughfare for collection which gives others the opportunity of placing contaminated material in a bin that does not belong to them resulting in an innocent person being left with the problem of a non-emptied bin and what to do with the waste material left in it. The policy of non-collection of contaminated waste from the blue bins could result in an increase of illicit methods of disposal of waste, such as fly-tipping or dumping such waste in somebody else’s bin. Better you should look at ways of protecting the bins of concientious residents being “dumped upon” by the real culprits.

  5. I agree with some of the above comments, why Cllr Holloway bleats on about the waste going in the correct bins, when I have seen missed bins of varying colours put into the blue bin collection wagon, is self contamination being blamed onto the residents.

    The staff are not the most helpful, often missing bins because they might have to put one foot off the highway to collect and then get abusive if called back.

    I agree with Lambo the cost of running the 3 tier system outways any savings or profits by recycling. Peter we have similar, living on a walk through we get planty of additions to our bins, I often go and move stuff around on bin day (I work nights by the way).

    For me the Council and Councillors are anti its residents and just look at ways to extract more out of us without giving anything, IS THIS ANOTHER TRY at FINING RESIDENTS for misuse, when already there is enough evidence to prove the frailties of the system.


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