2 July 2013

Communal collection bins to 'boost recycling by 70 per cent'

Communal waste recycling is set to be rolled out across a large part of Brighton & Hove city centre, bringing big increases in recycling rates.

Officials say consultation has shown residents in favour of scrapping kerbside black boxes in favour of larger strategically-placed collection points. 

Trials have shown collection of materials would increase by as much as 70 per cent, says the council.

It would also save money, which could pay for further incentives for residents to recycle and enable donations to selected local charities and community projects under a ‘community rewards’ scheme..

The scheme would be extended to around 32,000 homes in the city centre, ending the need for black boxes cluttering pavements and doorsteps.   It would also stop passers-by using them as bins, contaminating contents and causing wind-blown litter.

Instead, materials would be collected in on-street communal bins similar to, but smaller than, current communal waste bins.

The move follows a consultation of the 32,000 homes in the city centre and five exhibitions.   

Support was overwhelming, with 80 per cent of respondents saying they were willing to use the bins and 65 per cent approving their proposed locations.  Officers have since worked with local people on changing proposed locations where possible if residents objected.

Officers are recommending the full roll-out to the environment committee on July 9.  A trial of over 3000 homes in Brunswick and Adelaide during 2012, saw recycling rates rise from 12.5 per cent to 21 per cent.

Funding of £840,000 over six years will come from a government scheme to help councils improve waste collection and recycling services.  Managers say the scheme would also save around £516,000 over six years because it uses mechanised loading of vehicles and fewer staff. However there would be no compulsory redundancies.

The report recommends introducing an incentive scheme to encourage people to use the new bins.  This could include discount vouchers for shops and cafes being handed out at bin sites to those bringing materials.  These could be paid for by savings from increased recycling.  Every tonne recycled saves council tax-payers £44. 

Another idea is for part of the savings to be passed onto local charities in the form of grants.  Up to £10,000 could be set aside, with up to three charities benefitting a year.

Chair of the environment, transport and sustainability committee Cllr Pete West said:  “Our pilot of this new system has already shown it to be a very good way to get increased recycling, cleaner streets and less damage to the environment.   In that sense it strongly supports the council’s One Planet Living principles.

“Our extensive public consultation has now revealed very strong public support for rolling out these new bins over an even wider area, and we know they will help save money and be more convenient than black boxes. We aim to pass part of the savings on to charities and local community groups to help encourage residents to do even more recycling.”

If approved at committee the aim would be to implement the roll-out between next October and March 2014.

Some 272 parking spaces would be lost – 1.35 per cent of the total of on-street spaces in the city centre.  During consultation 1.6 per cent of respondents – 76 out of 4649 people - raised concerns on loss of parking spaces.

More information:
Find out more about communal recycling in the city centre.