Somerset Waste Board (SWB) has unanimously agreed to start a new Recycle More collection service, adding new kerbside recycling materials: plastic pots, tubs and trays; household batteries; small electrical equipment, to the current door step collection. To date a dozen or so items, including food, cardboard, glass, paper, tins, foil, cans aerosols, car batteries and clothes are already collected weekly and landfill bins collected fortnightly. The new service will increase weekly recycling, leaving less for landfill so these bins will be collected on three-weekly collections.
Garden, clinical and bulky collections will stay as they are; assisted collections will continue on this new schedule; and communal collections will be unchanged except, where possible, extra recycling items will be collected.
Before SWB’s decision, all six Somerset councils separately and overwhelmingly endorsed Recycle More. The roll out is likely to be in three phases from late 2017. Details of Recycle More have been added to the SWP website.
Using a range of new vehicles to suit Somerset’s varied conditions and collect all materials in one go, including the rising “internet avalanche” of cardboard, Recycle More will collect from door steps the light but bulky plastic food packaging in a tough, new base-weighted store-flat bag.
Similar successful schemes of extra materials and reduced frequency rubbish collections have long been underway for millions of residents in 14 council areas across the UK, with more expected to provide similar collection schemes.
Recycle More will overall, send less rubbish to costly landfill and recycle more items therefore offer serious savings in money and materials for Somerset. This new service is expected to recycle almost 13,000 extra tonnes of materials currently being landfilled each year, cut rubbish levels significantly, and once implemented, save £1.7 million annually, which can be spent supporting other important pressurised council services.
Extensive experience, in-depth research, and a range of popular trials with 5,000 Somerset families of all sizes and situations over several months has showed that services like Recycle More create a “virtuous circle”, with the newly-added items prompting more recycling of all materials, from food to glass and card.
In a survey, over 80% of families in the trials of Recycle More wanted to continue with the same service. With research showing no significant problems with three-weekly rubbish collections, SWP guidance for Recycle More will be unchanged: recycle every bit of food, double bag smelly waste, rinse all containers, keep waste bins, boxes and bags in the shade, and follow SWP advice for a positive recycling and waste collection.
Communal collections from flats will stay as they are, except that extra weekly recycling materials will be added if possible. Clinical, garden and bulky waste collections will be unchanged, while assisted collections will continue to be supported for weekly recycling and 3 weekly landfill waste collections. Families with children in nappies, and other residents with additional needs, such as those using adult hygiene products, will continue to get priority assistance if they require extra help.
Meanwhile, over-eager recyclers who have begun putting out extra materials, such as plastic pots, tubs and trays, are being reminded that crews will leave these behind until Recycle More starts either end of 2017or start of 2018.
Somerset’s recycling rate is currently only at 52%, so Recycle More should soon see that figure greatly improve.
Festive waste services
Recycling centres will open during the festive period on their usual schedule, but close on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Recycling, clinical and refuse collections between Monday 26 December and Friday 6 January will be one day later. Garden waste collections are suspended between Monday 26 December and Friday 6 January, resuming on Monday 9 January 2017 on the usual days. See SWP website for collection information.
Somerset Waste Board
SWP is the executive arm of SWB, with two members nominated by each of the six Somerset partner councils, one of which must be the portfolio holder for waste and/or the environment. The Chair and Vice-Chair are elected at the Board AGM from its membership.
SWB’s next meeting is on Friday 24 February.
For details of SWP, SWB and waste services: www.somersetwaste.gov.uk.
SWB membership for Mendip is:
Mendip – Cllrs Nigel Woollcombe- Adams (Vice Chair), Terry Napper
SWB meeting agendas, papers and reports are available online.
For all advice and information, visit www.somersetwaste.gov.uk