PEOPLE living in Blackburn with Darwen could see a return to separate recycling bins in a bid to improve the borough’s green credentials.

Currently recyclable waste is all put into one grey bin but councillors discussed the merits of returning to a system with multiple bins for different types of recycling.

It could mean a move from the current three-bin regime to FOUR bins each - with one for garden waste, one for paper and card, one for plastic and glass and one for general waste.

Members at a Blackburn with Darwen Council scrutiny committee meeting heard residents are not currently separating their recycling properly and just one contaminated bin in a wagon means the whole load has to go to landfill - which the council is then charged extra for.

The contract for bin collections is due to go out to tender in the near future with the current deal due to run out in April 2020.

And councillors heard the next contract could see a return to separate recycling bins.

Currently about 40 per cent of waste in the borough is recycled - below the government target of 50 per cent.

Chairman of the committee, Cllr Naushad Surve, said the current system was not working.

He suggested the tender for the next contract included a responsibility on the part of the successful bidder to educate people on how to recycle properly.

Tory shadow member for environment Cllr Paul Marrow said: “Our waste is up six per cent this year and we need to get that down but we don’t recycle properly.

“A lot of the problem is different firms have different criteria for their waste.”

Cllr Derek Hardman added: “We might have to go back to the old way with more bins. Paper is our biggest problem.

“People don’t always wash cans out either.

“If the rubbish collectors are saying things can’t be recycled, they are charging the council to dump it.”

Currently people can put cans, glass, plastic, paper-based cartons, paper and cardboard, margarine/butter tubs, yoghurt pots, clear plastic food trays, takeaway trays, and most plastic packaging all in their grey recycling bin.

Food and drink containers must be rinsed out while plastic bottles and cardboard boxes should be squashed.

Recyclables should be put loose in the bin, not in bags.

Cllr Julie Gunn said: “Now is the right time to look at this."

“Whoever gets the next contract has a responsibility to educate people in the borough how to recycle properly.

“The national picture is very mixed and confused.”

Cllr Vicky McGurk added: “ Most people have good intentions but there is no real clarity.”

Labour bosses made the unexpected decision to scrap weekly bin collections in 2016.

The council announced that it was moving to alternate weekly collections of household rubbish and recycling in a bid to improveove recycling rates and reduce the costs of refuse disposal as well as refuse collection.

And charges for its garden waste collection scheme were brought in the following year.

Members resolved to discuss the matter further at a future committee meeting.