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NewsScottish NewsCouncils demand birth certificates to prove need for bigger wheelie bin

Councils demand birth certificates to prove need for bigger wheelie bin

The government wants families to recycle as much as possible (Picture by Jan Smith)

SCOTS councils are demanding that families requesting bigger wheelie bins hand over birth certificates to prove they aren’t lying about the number of children they have.

Overzealous officials are sending inspectors to interrogate parents who produce more waste and are even rifling through bins to check families are recycling as much as they can.

The checks have been condemned as an invasion of privacy and a waste of taxpayers’ money.

Desperate to meet Scottish Government targets for a landfill reduction of 95% by 2025, many councils have already moved from weekly to fortnightly bin collections.

But the reduced service has left many families struggling to cope with one small bin.

Households which meet certain criteria can apply for larger bins but some councils are only allowing the upgrade following a visit by inspectors.

The official can check birth certificates and search through rubbish to make sure nothing which can be recycled is being put in the waste bin.

Karen Saunders, 36, from Dunfermline, requested a bigger bin after bringing newborn daughter Mia home from hospital.

But she was visited by an inspector who requested the birth certificate for her two-year-old, Olivia.


Karen said: “He asked to see my eldest daughter’s birth certificate. It seemed like a complete waste of time and money given I could easily have posted, emailed or handed in a copy.”

Doretta Cocks, of the Campaign for Weekly Waste Collection, said: “This is astonishing. These visits are a complete invasion of privacy.

“Families shouldn’t have to put up with someone coming to their home to interrogate them or rifle through their rubbish”

Families with two or more young children, or those with medical conditions which generate extra waste, can get their 240 litre bins upgraded to a 360 litre one.

Residents may be charged up to £60 to change their bins, but in some areas, such as Aberdeenshire, Angus, East Lothian, Highlands, Moray, North Lanarkshire, Scottish Borders, South Lanarkshire and West Lothian, they are subjected to inspections first.

Fife Council sends “recycling advisors” to check the criteria for lager bins are met.

And they may check the birth certificates of the householders.

In Falkirk, residents are forced to keep a “waste diary” to ensure they are recycling as much as possible.

Once the diaries are reviewed a visit is made by officials before a new bin is issued.

Matthew Elliot, of Taxpayer’s Scotland, said: “Councils should make it easier to recycle and put out their bins out, not send snoopers to check what people put in their rubbish.”

But councils defended the visits, saying deploying “bin police” was justified.

A spokeswoman for North Lanarkshire said they were trying to avoid householders forking out £51 for a larger bin when they could recycle more instead.

A Scottish Borders Council spokesman said: “Households of four or more people are visited for an assessment of the household waste being presented for collection to ensure the waste is being dealt with in the best possible way and that recycling is maximised.”

And East Lothian council confirmed that copies birth certificates “may be required”.

A spokeswoman added: “They may also be monitored to ensure they’re taking part in recycling collections.

“The requirement for a 360 litre bin will be reviewed and if any of the above criteria are no longer met the bin will be replaced with a smaller one.”

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