Page last updated at 11:06 GMT, Sunday, 14 March 2010

Closed lid warning over east Devon bin collections

Man filling wheelie bin
The council says overflowing bins can be a very serious safety issue

Bin collectors in part of Devon will no longer take away people's rubbish if a wheelie bin's lid is not fully closed, East Devon District Council has said.

The council said its waste collection contractors were advised to change the policy to protect staff from injury.

Labels will be put on over-full bins to explain why they have not been emptied.

The council said the move followed the death of man elsewhere in the country who was caught up in machinery while trying to shut a lid.

'Unsafe to empty'

The council said the new policy would begin on 22 March and applied to areas that had non-recyclable landfill-waste wheelie bins and food waste collections.

It will also apply to the Honiton area when it switches to the new service on 24 March.

Overflowing bins will be labelled "Bin lid open, making it unsafe to empty" by collection staff from waste company Sita. The bins will be collected on the next round two weeks later if the lid is by then in the down position.

Councillor David Cox, who is responsible for waste and recycling, said it was "clearly a very serious safety issue".

He said: "We cannot put our contractor's staff at risk. I'm sure the public will want to support us in this.

"Moreover, if the wheelie bin is overflowing, this will invariably be because the householder is putting material in the landfill bin that could, in fact, be recycled.

"That clearly goes against the aims of our waste strategy, whereby we want to minimise landfill waste and maximise recycling."

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