HOUSEHOLDS in Sheffield bracing themselves for fortnightly rubbish collections could be given an amnesty on putting out black bins with the lids up - and may also be allowed to leave extra waste in bags on the kerbside.
The Star understands the idea is being considered by councillors to alleviate concerns that big households may struggle when bins are emptied only fortnightly.
Currently, bin lids have to be completely shut, and no additional bags can be collected.
The amnesty would apply for several months to allow households to get used to the reduced waste collection and begin recycling more.
Other changes being considered include collecting more plastics in recycling bins and boxes.
The idea was welcomed with caution by residents across the city.
Terry Andrews, of Base Green Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, said: “I am dead against going fornightly. I live in a block of nine flats and we have three bins between us.
“I’m sure the amnesty will help some people, but our bins are chocka after a week so there will be a lot of extra rubbish after two. How much extra bagged waste will the binmen take?”
Peter Sides, a retired gardener, aged 62, of Dryden Road, Southey Green, said: “This could cause more problems than it solves. Extra bags of rubbish out on the pavements would look very unsightly, and would encourage rats and foxes.”
Linda Daniels, treasurer of Brushes TARA in Firth Park, said: “I still don’t agree with going fortnightly, but the amnesty would help the situation.”
Avril Critchley, a former member of Totley Residents’ Association, said: “I won’t have a problem with fortnightly bin collections but I’m a keen recycler and don’t produce much rubbish. I think most people will struggle to begin with, and will need to get used to the new system. I suppose an amnesty would be something.”
But she added: “I am still concerned about the council scrapping the free green waste collections, which were well-used around here.”
Sheffield Council chief executive John Mothersole said: “Now that the council’s cabinet has expressed a preference for the future of the waste service we are working up the details.
“We want the change to be smooth and for households to be able to cope with the arrangements.”
The council wants to bring in fortnightly collections to save £2.44 million each year - as it seeks to make up to £57m of savings from its budget for the 2012/13 financial year.
Council waste contractor Veolia will not currently empty wheelie bins unless the lids are closed. It claims to do so would be ‘unsafe’ - a concern which would have to be alleviated before any amnesty is introduced.
■ FINES for people guilty of over-filling bins or leaving them out on the pavement are being scrapped by the Government - but in Sheffield, only two have ever been issued, to people persistently leaving bins on narrow pavements.
However, the council revealed it has issued 130 warning notices under the same powers which permitted the fines, which were introduced in 2010.
Nick Chaplin, the council’s Environmental Protection Manager, said: “Our approach has always been to try to deal with these problems by talking to people and encouraging them not to leave the bins out.”
■ THE Star is running an online poll at www.thestar.co.uk. Simply answer yes or no to whether the council should set aside £2.44m from its budget next year to protect weekly bin collections.