A COUNCIL is under fire over confused messages to residents in its new £1.5million system for recycling clean paper and cardboard.

In June 60,000 Blackburn with Darwen households started receiving new blue bins to split the two products from other reclaimable waste.

Local Tories discovered some of the bins lids specify waxed cartons for fruit juice can be included while others do not.

Environment boss Cllr Jim Smith explained that the guidance from the recycling contractor changed to allow waxed cartons in the blue bins after the first few thousand had been manufactured but he was advising placing them in grey bins.

His Conservative shadow Cllr Paul Marrow said: “This is self-defeating. The new system is supposed to be simpler but this just causes confusion.

“They spent £1.5m on these new bins so you think they could have got it right. How are people supposed to know which bin to put waxed drinks cartons in?”

He discovered the problem when he compared his new blue bin lid with that of Mark Russell, deputy chairman of Blackburn Conservative Association whose lid said the waxed cartons could go in but Cllr Marrow’s did not.

Mr Russell said: “I thought the main reason for a separate paper bin was to cause less confusion when it comes to recycling,

“If anything the council have created more confusion. And now they are suddenly saying the blue bins can be used for not just paper and cardboard, which contradicts their own leaflet. It’s a shambles.”

Cllr Smith said: “Due to unavoidable circumstances, we were advised of a change in the processing preference of waxed juice cartons, as the first initial batch of our new blue bins were being manufactured.

“We have been reassured by our recycling contractor that waxed cartons can be recycled in both the blue and grey bins as both recycling systems allow them to be processed. The preference is to put your waxed cartons such as juice cartons in your grey, recycling bin if possible.

“The majority of our new blue bins have been embossed with the up-to-date information. We apologise if this has caused any confusion, whilst waxed cartons account for less than one per cent of the total recycling we collect, we know that providing consistent advice is important to empower residents in helping to increase our recycling rates.”

Liberal Democrat Cllr Roy Davies said: “This is ludicrous. We have enough trouble with contaminated recycling bins in the borough without this mess.”