Ten years ago Derby started rolling out kerbside recycling and went to fortnightly black bin collections. The amount of waste recycled climbed dramatically. Derby was leading the way.
Like anything new, there were teething problems. Systems were tweaked and as a result most people have been successfully recycling their waste. More items were added – like cardboard, clothing and drinks cartons. Over half of Derby’s household waste was now no longer being sent to landfill. And businesses buying Derby’s recycled materials were impressed by how well-sorted they were.
Now Labour is scrapping this success.
- Brown bins will be charged at £40 a year – for only 16 collections. And kitchen waste will have to go in the black bin, to fester in landfill rather than being made into compost.
- Paper, card, glass, cans, drinks cartons and clothing will all go in the same bin. So white paper and brown will no longer be separated and glass will be added to the mix.
And now Labour are discussing scrapping recycling collections altogether for over 130 streets and going back to weekly black bin collections. And I can see no mention of introducing ‘bring’ sites for these areas either.
A decade and more of behaviour change is to be undone!
There have been problems with wrong materials going some bins, bins being left on the street and dumping of waste – but the solution should not be to take away the facility for people to do the ‘right’ thing for both the economy and the environment. The solution should be to amend the system so that it will work for them and to explain to people better how the system works.
The proposal is to introduce the larger blue bin for all mixed recycleables from June – and make the decision now to scrap this for certain streets in four inner-city areas in October. Brown bins will be withdrawn in October for people who don’t want to pay.
- wait to see whether a simpler recycling system and fewer bins solve most of the problems of bins left on streets, and wrong items in bins?
- consider the impact of people on adjacent streets having to follow different instructions for waste management?
- see whether working more closely with local schools, some of which are themselves trying to increase recycling as part of being “ecoschools”, can help to educate local households?
If you feel as angry and frustrated as me, please get in touch with your ideas.