WHEELIE bins across North Solihull have split, with recent cold weather having apparently made an existing problem worse.
Several years ago it came to light that the brown containers - used for residents' recycling - had a tendency to crack due to a manufacturing fault.
But the problem has become more and more apparent since last December and Solihull Council confirmed this week that its team was continuing to receive around 100 enquiries a day from residents who required a placement.
As it stands, almost 10,000 of the bins have been collected for replacement in just over three years and the council's waste contractors have put on an extra delivery crew to help cope with the increased workload.
While the local authority was first made aware of the defect in 2015, it believes that far more of the receptacles have failed in recent months because freezing temperatures tend to make the plastic more brittle.
In a memo earlier this year, the council said: "The manufacturer is aware of the problem and as the bins are guaranteed for ten years they are obligated to replace them.
"To date the manufacturer has been unable to confirm what is wrong with the bins or how many are affected by the fault.
"They have acknowledged the additional time and resources that it is taking to deal with collecting damaged bins and delivering new bins, and regularly provide a batch of black bins free of charge by way of compensation."
This week, Chelmsley Wood councillor Chris Williams (Green) said that bins which had split open were a common sight around his ward, with some residents having resorted to using brown tape to try to repair the damage. He feared the problem could ultimately cause levels of recycling to fall.
At the final Full Council meeting ahead of next week's elections, it was acknowledged that many members would have been contacted by householders.
Cllr Alison Rolf, the cabinet member for the environment and housing, said that discussions with the supplier were ongoing and that efforts were being made to catch up with the backlog as quickly as possible.
"We are working on it, but you'll just have to bear with us I'm afraid - it was something we weren't expecting to happen."
Solihull Council has confirmed that it will replace the damaged brown bins free of charge. A replacement can be ordered by calling 0121 704 8000.