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Recycling goods 'put in with rest'

A company controversially awarded the contract to collect rubbish in the City of Sydney has been accused of contaminating material put out for recycling by putting it in the same truck as general waste.

Residents complained to the council after seeing United Resource Management staff emptying the recycling and rubbish bins into the same truck.

Similar complaints were made to Warringah Council by residents in August when rubbish collectors took industrial action against URM, claiming they are paid $200 a week below the industry standard.

Jo Holder, from the Darlinghurst Residents Action Group, said residents who carefully sorted their paper, plastic and glass from general household rubbish were wasting their time.

She said the actions of URM staff threatened the ''green credentials'' espoused by the City of Sydney, which awarded the tender to the low-cost waste company in March.

After the takeover by URM, residents complained about rubbish piling up around homes and outside apartments for weeks at a time, although the council claims the initial problems have largely been solved.

A spokeswoman for the City said it has taken the allegations ''very seriously'' and ''if the complaint is found to be valid we will take whatever action is required to prevent this happening again''.

''We are confident that if there is a problem with domestic recycling it's limited, as the City's most recent figures show a 7 per cent increase in material delivered to our recycling facilities for the first quarter of 2010, compared to the same period in 2009,'' she said.

URM is engaged in a battle with the Transport Workers Union, which is lobbying the company to pay workers in the City and Warringah the same wages as workers on other council contracts and those provided under the previous contractor.

A senior TWU official said union members at the Belrose tip had seen recycled material contaminated with rubbish.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au


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