In what is believed to be the first case of its kind, a woman was prosecuted in London for throwing rotting food into a recycling bin. She was, however, acquitted after councils failed to prove their case.
Donna Challice of Exeter city was charged for six offences after councils found food waste including rotting banana skins, half-eaten yoghurt, potato peelings, teabags and debris from a vacuum cleaner bag in the recycling bin placed outside her house. The bin was intended only for paper, tins, plastic bags and bottles. During her prosecution, Challice denied throwing household waste into the green bin. In absence of video surveillance or statements from neighbours, the council failed to back the case beyond reasonable doubt. Section 46 of uk's Environmental Protection Act 1990 gives councils the power to specify what kinds of waste should be placed in which bins. Failure to comply is a criminal offence and can be punished with a fine of up to 1,000 (US $1,264). Councils have begun using the legislation in recent years following pressure from the central government to meet recycling targets and reduce landfill, with compulsory recycling schemes in four London boroughs.