LOCAL council bin police wearing head lamps are prowling neighbourhoods in the middle of the night to check whether residents are recycling.
At least one contractor hired by the City of Monash in Melbourne has been threatened with the sack after peering into rubbish bins by torchlight and spooking elderly homeowners at 1am.
It is understood several other councils pay bin cops to hunt down rogue recyclers.
City of Monash spokeswoman Jodie Harrison confirmed a “rubbish auditor” had been warned to switch to more reasonable hours after “freaking out” residents.
Disturbed householders have discovered bin police kitted out with miners’ hats and and inspecting garbage bins that are left by footpaths for collection.
Dozens of recycling and green waste bins are checked three times a week.
Residents flouting the rules have warning stickers placed on their bins and risk being slapped with a garbage collection ban.
Ms Harrison defended the council’s rubbish checks, saying contaminated waste ruined an entire truckload destined for compost, mulch or recycling.
But she agreed the “unreasonable” patrol times should be changed.
Ms Harrison said the council was unaware of the contractor’s 10pm-10am operating hours until two residents complained last week.
The City of Monash has sought assurances the business will now patrol only from 6pm-9pm or 4am-6am.
The council has hired specialists to inspect bins for the past six years, and diverts more than half the garbage it collects to recycling.
The contractors can lift bin lids, but are not allowed to physically rummage through rubbish.
Ms Harrison said the City of Monash was among Victoria’s top recyclers, with only 44 per cent of garbage collected ending in landfill.
By Karen Collier | April 21, 2008
Source: The Australian