NORTHUMBERLAND County Council’s decision to end charity collections of textiles in their current form at recycling centres has been branded a “money-grabbing” exercise by Tory county councillors.
The council’s Lib Dem administration insists that the move will lead to more fabrics being recycled and is in the best interests of council tax payers.
The council has outsourced the recovery of textiles to Nathan’s Wastesavers, a deal set to earn it up to £300,000 a year.
The Scottish company will provide containers at Ashington’s North Seaton Industrial Estate household waste recovery centre and 43 other recycling sites county-wide.
The council claims the move will also help charities collect at up to 74 new locations, but the Conservative opposition has branded the decision money-grabbing, unnecessary and unfair.
Tory group leader Peter Jackson, of Ponteland, said: “This money-grabbing move is entirely unnecessary, as the council budget has £2.8m of slack in it.
“It is short-sighted as the charities who will lose out do crucial local work with vulnerable young, elderly and disabled people.
“It is also unfair, with the Lib Dem axe once again falling upon those least able to defend themselves.”
Council leader Jeff Reid, of Blyth, defended the decision, saying: “We know that seven per cent of what we throw away is fabrics, and that’s not what people put in charity bags – that’s what is going into general waste.
“If seven per cent is going into general rubbish, there is vast potential to increase the total of the fabric that gets recycled.
“We are doing what we feel is in the best interests of the taxpayers of Northumberland.”