Questions and answers on the Pink Sticker campaign


1)     Why is the scheme being implemented?

Answer: The stickers will let people know why their bags, bins or caddies have not been collected. It is important to ensure that people are putting the right items in the correct containers so that we can recycle and compost as much as possible.

2) How will I know what item/s I’ve put in my green recycling bag incorrectly?

If you’ve received a pink sticker on your green recycling bag, firstly check if you’ve put the following items in the bag in error:

 Food waste / leftovers in packets, tins, jars etc.

Textiles –such as clothes, bedding, rags etc.

Find out how to dispose of these and other items correctly on our on Recycling A-Z:  

3)     Why is the council threatening to fine me for recycling?

Answer: The aim of the scheme is to ensure that people are placing their waste out correctly and putting the right items in the right bags or bins. This will help to increase recycling and also reduce street litter. Residents will only be fined if they repeatedly fail to present their waste correctly. At present, we are only recycling around 58% of waste, but the current target for Wales is 64%.

 For every tonne of waste missed from the target, the Council can receive a fine of £200. If the city's recycling rate doesn't increase from 58% to 70%, which is the target for 2025, the total fine could in excess of £10m.

4)     Do the five stages outlined in the new campaign have to be consecutive to receive a fine? Or is there a time limit on when a breach in the five stage process lapses?

Answer: Issuing a fixed penalty for incorrect presentation of waste only requires two stages, which are the issuing of a section 46 notice under the Environmental Protection Act, and then the actual issuing of the fixed penalty notice.

Residents will have to breach the scheme five times over a rolling 12 week period to receive a fixed penalty notice for contamination. The section 46has no true end date, as long as the occupants remain.

However, we are introducing the pink sticker campaign to try to prevent the need to issue a fixed penalty, by giving residents three chances to get it right, before the enforcement stages of the campaign begin. Residents will have to breach the scheme five times over a rolling 12 week period to receive a fixed penalty notice. 

5)     What if the bin was contaminated by someone walking down the street rather than by the resident? For example dumping crisp packets or other rubbish in the green garden waste bin as they walk past the property.

Answer: Crews are trained to identify such instances of contamination. Should you receive a sticker or a letter, but you believe that your bin/bag is not contaminated, please contact us and we will look into the matter for you.

6)     What happens if a person has already had a section 46 notice issued on them? Does the scheme still apply?

If a person has already had a section 46 notice served on them, then they will receive an immediate fixed penalty notice for not abiding by the legal notice which has been served. Given this, the educational stages of the campaign will not apply to the person in question.

7)     Does the scheme apply to elderly or disabled people? This may cause worry?

Answer: The pink sticker scheme applies to all, except those who have already had a Section 46 Notice served on them. The aim is to inform people why their bag hasn't been collected. There are lots of ways we can provide support to residents, who may not understand how to recycle correctly. We will consider all individual circumstances, so contact us to discuss how we can help.

8)     Will the information provided as part of the education and enforcement scheme be available in other languages other than English and Welsh?

Answer: The information provided on the Council's website can be translated into a number of languages using Google Translate. If a resident does not have access to the internet they are asked to call the C2C so alternative arrangements can be made.

Alternatively, information is supplied in 14 different languages through the following link:

9)     If a waste load is contaminated with other waste, why can't the incorrect materials be removed by the council or the Council's contractor?

Answer: It is not practical for refuse collectors to remove incorrect items. Incorrect items contaminate the rest of the load and cannot be collected. This is why this scheme is being introduced, to inform residents when the wrong materials are put in the containers provided.

10)     What happens if a resident moves into a new property and the previous owner or tenant has breached the scheme and has received warnings? Do these apply to the new owner or tenant who has moved into the property?

Answer: No - the warnings only apply to an individual once the section 46 is issued. This is the legal notice which gives the Council the authority to issue a fixed penalty notice.

11)  Is there an appeals process during the five stage proves, if a resident doesn't agree that their waste was contaminated?

Answer: There is no appeal to a section 46 notice. The Notice sets out the requirements of the service under the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Following receipt of the Notice the residents will be required by law to comply with the arrangements for placing their waste out for collection.

A Fixed penalty notice discharges liability for prosecution in magistrate court. There is no right of appeal to the Council, breach of notice is a criminal offence not a civil offence which imposes a fine and provides an appeals process. The opportunity to disagree would be through the Magistrates Court. 

The matter will be referred to the Magistrates' Court through Single Justice Procedure should the fixed penalty remain unpaid, or should you instruct Cardiff Council to do so.

The person who receives it has 21 days to appeal to the Magistrates' Court via this procedure.

Any enquiries or disputes regarding fixed penalties will not be progressed as part ofCardiff Council's Corporate Complaint Procedure or The Public Services Ombudsman for Walesand no formal response will be sent.

12)  Does the five stage process apply to all the containers provided, so for example, if the green waste is contaminated one week and the green garden waste is contaminated the following week, does this count as two occurrences?

Answer: The scheme applies to the green bags for dry recyclables and the green compost bin/white re-useable sacks for green garden waste. In this scenario explained in the question, contaminating the green bags one week and the green bin/re-useable sacks the next, will result in two stages of the scheme being breached.

13)  How will collection crews know whose recycling bags belong to?

If green recycling bags contain incorrect item/s, the crew will log the contamination to the property that the bags are directly outside.

In the case of a shared household, split into a number of flats, the crews may not know which flat the bags have come from. They will use their best reasoning in this case.

If they are unsure, crews will still report the contamination and Education and Enforcement Officers will visit and assess the correct course of action - this may include general or targeted information.

In the case of recycling bags piled within a collection point e.g. at the end of the lane, the crews will sticker all bags that contain incorrect items. They will make a note of the location on their in cab device. We will not auto generate education letters. However, if we note that recycling bags are persistently contaminated at this location, we may make a decision to send a Section 46 notice to all surrounding properties.

Please remember during the education stages, while we appreciate it may be frustrating to receive a letter incorrectly, no further action will be taken. No-one will ever incorrectly receive Fixed Penalty Notice if contaminated bags have not come from their property.