Monday, 8 October 2012

City Council Acts To Increase Blue Bin "Paperwork"

Cllr Jean Swanson
(LD, Queen Ediths)

Some Cambridge residents are still struggling to get to grips with the “paperwork” when it comes to the city’s blue recycling bin.

The city council discovered that residents are throwing away paper and cardboard in the black bin by mistake. If only half of it were captured in the blue bin instead the city’s recycling rate could increase by 3.5 per cent.

Overall, 13 per cent of residual waste placed in the black bins could have gone into the blue recycling containers. Along with paper and card, textiles made up a further six per cent of the total which could have been recycled through charity shops or kerbside collections.

Now the city council is to investigate ways of reaching out to residents to help them to understand more fully which items should go into the blue bins. This could include campaigns across the city targeting particular materials or the launch of a doorstep textiles collection service.

Cambridge City Executive Councillor for Environment and Waste Services, Jean Swanson said: “In Cambridge, we have an enviable recycling rate but we are always looking at ways in which we can better that.

“The blue bins were introduced to further cut down on the waste going to landfill which, in turn, saves money for the taxpayer. But it can be confusing as to which items go into which bins. So we are looking at how we can help people to understand the system better.”

Cambridge City Council is already working on reducing the amount of waste people generate. Among other schemes, it takes part in the countywide RECAP campaigns focussing on food waste prevention and the re-use of textiles and encourages students to donate and reuse unwanted items after graduation.

At present, a one per cent increase in dry recycling saves taxpayers £28,500 in landfill tax charged to Cambridgeshire County Council and generates an extra income of £17,000.

The issue will be discussed by members of Cambridge City Council’s Environment Scrutiny Committee tomorrow (Tuesday, October 9).