CONTROVERSIAL plans to improve Basingstoke and Deane’s lowly recycling rate were approved by the borough council’s decision-making Cabinet last night.

As reported by The Gazette on January 15, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s environment chief, Councillor Hayley Eachus, announced proposals to improve the borough’s lowly 25 per cent recycling rate to try and get residents to think about what they are throwing into their bins.

As part of the plans, the borough council will adopt a “three strikes and you’re out” approach which will see garden waste and recyclable items banned from refuse bins across Basingstoke and Deane.

Amber hangers will be placed on refuse bins which are found to contain recyclable materials on the first and second occasion, but if they are found by crews on a third occasion, a red hanger will be placed on the bin and it will not be collected.

In a bid to educate residents about recycling, letters will be sent to those who fail to toe the line and, in some cases, a council officer will visit a problem home to find out why those living there are not recycling, and will pass on information on what can and can’t be recycled.

The borough council will now only issue new properties built across Basingstoke and Deane with smaller 140-litre refuse bins, and any existing properties wanting a replacement refuse bin will also be issued with the smaller bin.

Residents will also be given the opportunity to purchase a 140-litre bin to recycle their glass in addition to the recycling crates currently used.

The first 1,000 bins will be given free of charge.

Councillors on the community, environment and partnerships committee criticised the proposals at a meeting last Wednesday.

Cllr Jack Cousens, ward member for Brookvale and Kings Furlong, told the meeting that the council should look further into a combined green and food waste recycling service, adding: “If we are asking people not to put something in the bin, surely we should be pushing them down an avenue where they can recycle that element or distribute it in a different way.

“We are forcing people to pay for that when previously they haven’t had to.”

Despite opposition to the proposals at the committee meeting, the borough’s Cabinet rubberstamped the proposals last night.

Cllr Eachus said: “This paper seeks Cabinet recommendations on a number of issues we hope will try and increase the recycling rate of this borough.

“I am pleased to recommend these points to the Cabinet and hopefully we can agree them and try and increase the recycling rate.”

The new schemes will launch on April 1.