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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 January 2007, 06:52 GMT
Legal threat over recycling bags
Anna McMorrin
Anna McMorrin was "horrified" to receive the council's letter
A green campaigner has hit out at a council that threatened legal action when she left waste for recycling.

Anna McMorrin, from Cardiff, left green bags in a nearby street as recycled rubbish is not collected in her road.

But Cardiff Council, which is bottom of the Wales recycling league, said recycling bags had been left at a place where there was no collection point.

Welsh councils are expected to recycle or compost at least 25% of their waste by April 2007.

Councils face millions of pounds in fines if they go over limits on how much they can send to landfill sites.

Ms McMorrin, a Friends of the Earth communications officer, was among 24 people who have been told by Cardiff Council to use a recycling centre rather than leave their rubbish on the street.

She said she had been shocked to receive a "Notice to Obtain Information" after putting her waste for recycling in a street where collection had been due that day.

Cardiff 8.19%
Conwy 9.83%
Wrexham 10.34%
Torfaen 11.10%
Anglesey 11.33%
Source: Welsh Assembly Government 2005-6

The council had gone through her rubbish to find out where she lived and sent her questions to answer under legal caution asking if it was her rubbish and if she had put it out.

Ms McMorrin said: "I was horrified and frankly, they could go about it in a much better fashion."

A council spokesman said a large amount of green recycling bags were continually being put out incorrectly on a road junction in the Whitchurch area of the city - where there is no collection point - and it was concerned about litter.

The spokesman said 24 requests for information had been sent to residents to clarify who put the waste there so it could advise people they should take rubbish to a recycling centre until they had kerbside collections.

The spokesman said: "We are committed to an extensive educational campaign to ensure that all residents understand and use the [kerbside] service when it is brought into their area."

Cardiff Council came bottom of the league in a table for recycling published two months ago by the Welsh Assembly Government.

Ceredigion 30.39%
Swansea 20.10%
Powys 19.62%
Vale of Glamorgan 18.75%
Bridgend 18.08%
Source: Welsh Assembly Government 2005-6

But the council said it was now recycling or composting nearly 22% of waste.

Ceredigion Council came top of the recycling league, re-using 30% of waste.

Council manager Bleddyn Jones said the success was due to starting in the 1990s and paying contractors for waste they reprocessed.

In England, some householders face being charged extra for rubbish they throw away rather than recycle, but Welsh Environment Minister Carwyn Jones said there was no need to consider that in Wales at the moment.

He said: "The targets that we've set for recycling are being reached, so the carrot is working."

But he warned there might be point in the future where "some kind of financial incentive or penalty" for householders who fail to recycle enough might be looked at.

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