Council accused of 'shaming' residents with controversial bin move: 'It's laughable'

Resident Linda Hall is against the initiative, believing it singles people out rather than encourages the to do the right thing.

A green paper tag with the words 'well done' found on one recycling bin in Chirnside Park (left) while another has a sad face on a red tag while reads 'please recycle correctly' (right).
Residents found tags looped around their recycling bins in Chirnside Park, Melbourne on Friday, indicating whether they had done a good job or not. Source: Facebook

Residents living in a major city council are being rated on their recycling habits — a move one local has called "disgraceful". Waste collectors have started tagging bins with either a green or red badge after disposal to indicate their compliance with recycling guidelines.

Speaking of the charge, Linda Hall told Yahoo News Australia she walked outside her home in Chirnside Park, Melbourne last Friday to collect her recycling bin from the curb. When she did, she spotted a green paper tag looped around the handle, causing her to lean closer for a better look.

Hall noticed the Yarra Ranges Council logo on the tag, alongside a smiley face and the words 'well done' in bold. After the incident, she spoke to one neighbour who wasn't as fortunate. They copped the opposite, a red tag which included a sad face under the words, 'Please recycle correctly'.

"I felt sadness for my neighbours who got red tags. I saw their faces. Some laughed it off, while others, I could see the humiliation," she told Yahoo.

Hall believes the "majority of people do the right thing" and publicly "shaming" residents isn't the best route to improving recycling habits.

"People do the wrong thing, which I think is wrong, but has anyone stopped to ask why? Is it possible they made a genuine mistake?" she said.

The resident also pointed to the fact that some walkers will dump items into bins as they pass by, with this not taken into account with the initiative. "I do object to this tactic... it's a waste of money".

It's not clear why council introduced the new system, or exactly when it began. Yarra Ranges Council did not respond to Yahoo's request for comment.

However, it follows a nationwide attempt to help avoid waste contamination and encourage correct rubbish disposal across Australia.

The tags sparked a discussion online and many sided with the resident. Some said it's "a joke" to have council workers checking through residents' bins and either praise or "shame" them accordingly.

"It's laughable," one wrote, while another said the practicalities of this just didn't fit his household. He said now that he has two small children he and his partner push their waste in "whatever bin it fits".

"Not out of choice but necessity," the dad said.

However, others welcomed the initiative, believing more needs to be done to improve recycling in the country — and where better to start than households.

"Yes! We need more of this because people put their rubbish into their recycling bins, contaminating the loads in the trucks," one said.

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