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Flat dwellers are ‘not in the pink’ over Tower Hamlets council’s new pink bag recycle rule

PUBLISHED: 16:46 11 January 2017 | UPDATED: 16:54 11 January 2017

Queue for Tower Hamlets free recycling bags at Whitechapel Idea Store... but have prood of identity!

Queue for Tower Hamlets free recycling bags at Whitechapel Idea Store... but have prood of identity!

Georgia Graham

Identity checks have been introduced in an area of London once plagued by voting fraud for the local elections—but not for catching polling fraudsters.

Tower Hamlets Idea Store Tower Hamlets Idea Store

The new registrations by Tower Hamlets council was rather more to make sure people were entitled to get free recycling bags if they lived in high-rise blocks of flats.

It didn’t go down too well with tower block dwellers queuing up at the Whitechapel Idea Store to collect their pink recycle bags, rationed to one a week.

“No-one waiting in the queue could believe the absurdity of this situation,” fumed tower dweller Georgia Graham.

“We’re having to show proof of our address before being given the free pink bags.

“We were waiting for the right to be responsible citizens and recycle our rubbish properly—but Tower Hamlets appears to be trying to thwart our attempts.”

She was told that the bags were being “abused” by ground-floor households using the pink recycle bags as normal rubbish sacks, though not tower dwellers.

“So now we are given exactly 52 bags a year—that’s one a week,” Georgia told the East London Advertiser.

“This treats residents like children who have to prove they will be responsible with their recycling bags. Recycling is our choice and a time-consuming, difficult one at that.”

There were two people in charge of the queue, she found. One council official was handing the out the pink bags while a woman checked household bills or other identity such as driving licence or even passports and registering the details on a laptop.

The ‘pink bag’ registration was introduced in the festive season for those wishing to continue using them now they were no longer being distributed on the round, to be collected instead at Idea Stores at specific slots throughout the month.

A council statement informed them: “You will be required to provide proof of address when collecting sacks and liners.”

The council offered tips on recycling such as: “Choose products that are returnable, reusable, or refillable (rather than) ‘single use’ items. Avoid individually wrapped items, snack packs, and single-serve containers. Be aware of double-packaging.”

It also advises composting food scraps and yard waste—assuming you have a garden and don’t live in a tower block, that is—and to “use both sides of every page of a notebook before moving on to the next”!

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