Social networking seems to have played its part in helping to fuel a re-think B&NES has announced to improve the effectiveness of its recycling and rubbish service.It will include introducing wheelie bins and gull-proof sacks – over the next year or so – to try and prevent so much street litter. Ratepayers will get what is most suitable for their situation – but collections will be every other week.
Just recently a group of Bath ‘Facebookers’ organised their own ‘Streets of Shame’ page to hi-light the growing problem of mounting piles of poor quality rubbish bags being torn apart and their contents littering street after city street.
These people have not only been taking photos of offending areas but have been happy to contact the occupiers or landlord of the house affected to try and get things cleaned up.
Now the Council is hoping the ‘negative’ aspect of this on-line campaign can be turned to a positive and that those making these postings can now support a city-wide attempt to improve services and clean up the streets.
Today – Tuesday, July 5th – plans to improve recycling rates, keep the streets cleaner and reduce the amount of rubbish being scavenged by birds and animals have been unveiled by Bath & North East Somerset Council as part of a wide-ranging review of its recycling and rubbish collection service.
The Council’s Cabinet is to consider a report on 13 July, as part of a drive to increase recycling, tackle the waste problem on the streets and improve efficiency.
The report proposes keeping the existing weekly recycling and food waste collection, and existing garden waste collections every other week, and – in response to public demand – to invest in providing new wheeled bins or gull-proof rubbish sacks for every property within the Bath and North East Somerset area, to be collected every other week. The report proposes that the changes come in from Autumn 2017.
Figures show that locally, the average black plastic bin bag is still being more than half-filled with recyclable items such as food – which is leading to ripped bags spilling waste onto the streets. Providing wheeled bins or gull-proof sacks across the authority will help to reduce the amount of rubbish on the streets – particularly food waste –and will help tackle the scavenger problem.
Meeting the Press this morning, Cllr Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North), Cabinet Member for Community Services, said the Council would rather educate the public and get them on-side than punish with fines.
The authority had once led the way in its recycling achievements and they were determined to get B&NES back ‘to being best in class’ and introduced a rollover of the new facilities over the next 12 months which would provide the ‘right service in the right area’.
B&NES will be looking at different ways to ‘engage’ communities – from leaflets to local meetings and even training up ‘street champions’ from residents groups to spread the recycling word and encourage the community to ‘up it’s game’.
The ‘educational’ approach – where the benefits of recycling are talked up – has apparently worked well in many other authorities that B&NES officials have looked at.
As 75% of household waste can be recycled, the actual volume of rubbish being placed in the black bin can be reduced significantly for most local households. The experience of families elsewhere and the Council’s own tests show that the average household which recycles all of their waste would still have space left in their bin by collection day.
Cllr Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North), Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “Whilst other authorities across the country are moving to or considering three-weekly bin collections we are committed to keep our weekly collection service for recyclables and providing cleaner wheeled bins or gull-proof sacks for the remaining rubbish collected every other week. We want families to have a first-class collection service and we continue to provide one of the most comprehensive recycling services in the country while dealing with reductions in funding from national government.
“Over the next year we want to work with families to see our recycling rates increase and so we don’t have to pay huge financial penalties. It costs up to £1,000 to dispose of each lorry load of rubbish, whilst every lorry load of recycled waste earns £100 – so reducing the amount being put out as non-recycled waste is essential. By reducing the waste and increasing recycling we’ll be helping not only to save council taxpayers’ money, which can be used on other essential public services, but keeping our streets cleaner and meeting our promises to tackle the issue of scavenger birds and animals – as part of a co-ordinated approach by the Council.
“We understand that ‘one size does not fit all’, so we intend to be flexible and deal pragmatically to resolve concerns such as families which may have a higher-than-average amount of non-recyclable rubbish or houses of multiple occupation with limited storage. In some sensitive areas – wheeled bins may be inappropriate so we’ll look at other solutions. Over the next 12 months we’ll work with residents and communities to encourage an increase in recycling.”
If approved, there are plans to engage with residents to give them lots of advice and support between now and autumn 2017 – including recycling roadshows and a ‘bin doctor’ who will offer check-ups to aid recycling.
What can you recycle?
Bath & North East Somerset Council delivers one of the most comprehensive kerbside recycling services in the UK which includes the following items:
- All food waste (cooked & raw, including bones and pet food)
- Plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays
- Glass (including jars and bottles)
- Paper and cardboard (including window envelopes)
- Aluminium and steel cans
- Aerosols (e.g. deodorant sprays and air fresheners)
- Tetrapaks (e.g. juice cartons)
- Textiles (fabric/ clothing)
- Small electrical and electronic items
- Spectacles/mobile phones/used engine oil.
For more information on recycling, visit www.bathnes.gov.uk/recycle.