COMMUNITY leaders have warned residents to put the right items in their grey bins after a number of complaints.

Grey bins are meant for recyclable products but a number of people in Whalley Range, Blackburn, have been putting food and black bin bags in them instead.

The problem, which centres on roads including London Road and Carr Street, has meant that binmen have been refusing to empty the bins which are collected fortnightly.

Instead, binmen have been putting stickers on the bins advising residents they could not collect them because they had the wrong items in and reminding people of what should be in the bins.

Cllr Hussain Akhtar, who represents Shear Brow and Corporation Park on Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: "I've had complaints that some residents are putting food and non-recyclable products in the grey bins.

"You also get passers-by putting items in the bins that have been left out.

"So residents have had binmen refusing to collect their bins and placing stickers on them advising them on what to recycle.

"I want to get the message to residents to put the right things in the right bin."

Blackburn with Darwen Council said it can empty grey bins if it contains loose recyclable items only and no bags, so this can include cans, glass, plastic, paper-based cartons, paper and cardboard.

Martin Eden, the council's director of environment and operations, said the borough had a real problem with contaminated recycling bins and reminded residents to put the right items in the grey bins.

He said: “Unfortunately, like a number of other councils, we’ve got a real problem with contaminated recycling bins, which is where non-recyclable items are wrongly placed in the recycling bin.

“Our recycling rates have drastically fallen over the past eight years by almost half. Austerity has had a very big impact on our recycling rates. We know most people do their best but we also know that recycling can be confusing for residents.

“We are asking residents to check the Council’s A-Z of recycling to ensure they are not unintentionally contaminating the recycling bin as we are collecting a staggering 60 tonnes of contamination in the grey recycle bin each week. This then makes it difficult to be separated and ultimately ends up in landfill which is really sad because it can be avoided."