THE leader of Tendring Council has insisted the new waste collection scheme has greatly increased recycling, but apologised to residents for “teething problems”.

In June, a roll-out of more than 58,000 wheelie bins to households across the district was launched after more than a year of planning.

Homeowners who received one of the bins were moved to a fortnightly collection.

But a matter of weeks after the initiative had started, the council was swamped with complaints from thousands of angry residents.

Blasting the project, people reported finding binmen leaving some of their waste untouched and their streets starting to smell.

Neil Stock, Tendring Council leader, has praised the scheme for triggering a surge in food waste recycling, after an increase of 96 per cent was reported in the system’s first full week. But he has also apologised for the catalogue of shortcomings.

Mr Stock said: “We recognise there have been some teething problems during the roll-out, and on behalf of Tendring Council I apologise for that.

“With an operation of this size and scale, some element of disruption is inevitable.

“We are already seeing problems and complaints reducing.

“We are also seeing the evidence that the amount of waste and recycling have been changing significantly as the new system has been implemented. I continue to believe this will all be worthwhile, for improving our recycling rate as a district.”

Maria Fowler, shadow to the councillor responsible for environmental services, said: “The new ‘amount restricted’, fortnightly refuse collection service is resulting in piles of black refuse bags being dumped all over the district.

“But the councillor responsible for waste insists on referring to this as ‘littering’ so it is not showing up in the statistics.

“I am sure that residents will be amazed that he is trying to spin this total shambles into a good news story.”

Delyth Miles, councillor for Walton, said the system has been littered with problems.

Some of her ward’s residents are still waiting to be issued a bin.

She said: “It has been chaos and an appalling reflection on the district.”

“It has been a huge disappointment and is causing people considerable stress.

“There hasn’t been a single day since the roll-out where I haven’t received complaints.”