Recycling litter bin trial proves unsuccessful

Waste and street scene team member, Kim Hesketh, tries out the new bin.

A trial of new recycling litter bins in Richmondshire has not been a success, councillors have heard.

Leading members of Richmondshire District Council said the three-month litter bin recycling pilot scheme the authority launched in Richmond, Reeth and Middleham in May needed some revisions after only half a ton of waste was collected compared to the 350 tons of recyclates the council collects per month.

Lower Wensleydale member Councillor Richard Ormston told a meeting of the council’s corporate board a report into the pilot appeared to show it had not been successful with very low amounts of recycling collected.

He questioned whether the initiative should be continued, but the council’s corporate director Colin Dales replied that the low volumes of recycling in the bins had come as “no surprise”.

Mr Dales said the paper and card being recycled was typically contaminated with food waste, but the can and plastic collections had generally been clean.

He said: “We have learnt quite a lot. If we were to roll this out on a wider basis we need to think about the design and signposting of the bins and ways that we can avoid the contamination.

“The feedback I have had from some members is that it’s not just about the tonnages of recycling, it’s about the council leading the way in influencing how people behave in terms of recycling.

“I don’t think we have seen a real improvement in the cleanliness of the streets, which are quite clean compared to other areas, but we are seeing people recycling cans and plastics quite well and half a tonne of recycling has been collected. It’s a start.”

Richmond member Councillor Stuart Parsons urged the authority to move its recycling bins away from the fish and chip and pizza shops.

He said the council would continue to get contaminated recycling until the recycling bins were sited in “sensible places”.

He said: “This has been Richmond’s complaint from day one that the siting of it to replace a normal litter bin that was always full on a morning.”

Councillor Richard Good added: “Signage has been very poor. You have to be nearly on top of the bin before you realise it’s for recycling.”

Councillor Ian Threlfall said: “It’s quite clear that people are up for recycling, but does it have to be so complicated in Richmondshire?”

Mr Dales said the authority had learnt lessons from the pilot scheme.

He said: “There is a bit of a dilemma. My initial reaction would be to put the recycling litter bins where you are going to get the greatest footfall, which would be around the food outlets.

“This is clearly not the case. If we do roll this out we have to be careful where we site the recycling litter bins.”