A FATHER has claimed he’s being ‘harshly treated’ by a council after his recycling bins were deemed ‘contaminated’ after an empty multi-pack crisp bag was found in one of them.

Rob Kearney was told both his recycling bins would not be emptied from his home in Blackburn Road, Darwen, for another two weeks as a result of the Skips packet being put into the bin.

The father-of-five said he discovered his bin had not been emptied on Thursday and rang Blackburn with Darwen Council to find out why.

The 43-year-old said the council told him his bin had been deemed contaminated after a cat food pouch, a plastic bag and the crisp bag were found on top of the rubbish pile.

However Mr Kearney, who cares full-time for his disabled wife, Michelle, said the Iams cat food pouch and the plastic were labelled as recyclable.

Mr Kearney said: “We’re a very environmentally concious family and I’m trying to teach my children about recycling and why it's important.

“But I feel the council are treating this too harshly.

“They could have left a note on my bin with the crisp packet explaining this shouldn’t be recycled.

“I now have two full bins and will have to find time to go to the tip with all the rubbish.”

Mr Kearney said other residents in Anchor Ave and Birch Hall Ave have had similar issues, with ‘contaminated’ stickers being slapped across their bins.

Andy Barker, 36, who lives in Anchor Avenue, said his bin was not emptied and he did not understand why.

He said “The sticker was put on but I wasn’t told why.

“The following collection it was taken as normal."

Mr Kearney said: “The council have left several bins in this situation and I’d rather it just get sorted out as soon as possible."

Cllr Jim Smith, executive member for environment, said: "It seems that the usual contamination alert sticker wasn’t provided to Mr Kearney in this instance by the council’s contractor, Biffa, and we apologise for this.

"However, the contractor has visited Mr Kearney to let him know which items should be removed from the recycling bin and it has now been collected.

“Just one contaminated item means that a whole wagon load of recycling has to be sent to landfill, which is a waste of everybody’s hard work and efforts.

“The council has provided guidance to local residents a number of times as to what can and cannot be recycled, and the information is also made available via the annual calendar provided to residents each December.

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“Unfortunately, the council is not able to empty recycling bins with any contamination, and items such as crisp packets, plastic bags or cat food sachets are not recyclable at the moment.

"They have to be specially separated and processed, and our recycling facilities are not available to do this but if they are separated, cleaned and sent to Terracycle, they can be recycled."