Consultation to launch on measures to further increase recycling

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Councillor Leigh Ingham

Residents will be asked for their views on proposed changes to the council’s recycling and waste collection services in the coming years, as the council steps up its work to reduce waste and increase recycling.

A consultation will launch on Monday 9 October to hear local peoples’ views on plans to encourage more recycling, which will reduce the pollution and impact on our environment of the things we throw away.

South Gloucestershire residents already recycle 59.9 per cent of their waste – the second highest rate in the country among Unitary Authority areas – but analysis of what is still going into people’s black bins shows that, on average, almost two thirds of this material (63.7 per cent) could be recycled using existing recycling collections and new schemes that the council wants to roll out.

South Gloucestershire is already taking part in a national pilot to collect soft plastics at the kerbside for 1,995 households. This is going very well so far, with residents needing to put significantly less material in their black bins. Based on what is being learned during the pilot, the council is keen to expand the pilot up to 25 per cent of homes in the next year, before rolling it out across the district in 2025. Currently, more than a quarter (27.7 per cent) of the material in the average black bin is made up of these recyclable soft plastics.

The environmental case for increasing our recycling rates is clear. The financial cost is also clear. Processing recyclable materials is cheaper for residents. Currently the service costs more to provide than the council receives in funding to do it. Increasing our recycling will make the whole service cheaper to run and better value for residents.

Through the consultation process, the council wants to hear from local people about their views on this new approach and about any issues or barriers that might make it harder for them to recycle more.

There will also be questions about the potential to reduce the frequency of black bin collections from households. We know that by introducing new soft-plastic recycling and making it easier for more people to recycle the things they already can, almost two-thirds less waste will need to go in people’s black bins, so they could be collected less frequently.

The proposals to increase and improve the recycling service would be put in place first, before any possible changes to black bin collections, but the consultation will ask residents to again let the council know their views and about any extra support that might be helpful if that option was taken forward.

Changes to the frequency of black bin collections have been introduced in other areas and has been shown to reduce costs and decrease the amount of waste sent to landfill or for incineration.

The South Gloucestershire Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for waste and recycling services, Councillor Leigh Ingham, said: “We want to make it easier for people to recycle more. And we want to reduce the cost of the service, financially and on the environment.

“We want to hear from local people now so that we can make sure that any changes we make to the service work for them. We recognise we have more work to do to design our services for the future and we want to hear from residents through this consultation.

“People in South Gloucestershire have shown that they are keen to recycle as much as they can and with the right changes, we can help them do that.”

Details of the consultation, background information and how to take part, will be added to the council’s consultation website on Monday 9 October: www.southglos.gov.uk/consultation