Boston council take tough stance on bins after refuse collector’s close call with hypodermic needles

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An incident in which a binman had to undergo medical checks after a close call with used needles hidden inside a recycling bin has led to a tough stance by Boston Borough Council on dealing with waste.

Following the incident, in which the worried binman was eventually given a clean bill of health, residents were reminded that waste placed in their blue recycling bins should be loose and never in bags.

The needles had been left inside a plastic bag placed near the top of the bin. Fortunately the council’s bin man noticed the bin lid was slightly open with a piece of carpet wedged in the top. He took it out to facilitate mechanical emptying of the bin into the bin lorry and then noticed the suspicious-looking bag and tore it open to reveal this shocking scene.

Purely by chance he avoided being injured. Had he not spotted the needles the contents of the blue bin would have been emptied into the lorry and taken to the Boston Waste Transfer Station and then the Material Recovery Facility where some sorting of recycled material is done by hand.

Now the council is taking a firm line on the already established rule that waste placed in the blue bins should not be bagged.

Apart from the health risk there is also a risk of non-recyclables in bags contaminating the entire freighter load if tipped unnoticed. Materials which can be recycled, but which have been put in the blue bin in a plastic bag slows down the sorting process as the bags have to be opened and the contents exposed for checking and sorting. Plastic bags are not target recycling items.

Bins will not be emptied if they are found to be contaminated and residents will be informed by a sticker being placed on the bin. Residents will have to remove contaminants and re-present their bin for emptying at their next routine collection.

A guide to what can be recycled can be found on the council website at

Blue recycling bags remain available to collect from the council for free for recycled material when your blue bin is full, but please do not put these bags in your blue bin. These will be collected if left at the side of your blue bin on your collection day.