Recylcing – 9 bins too many?

21st February 2011

Newcastle-under-Lyme is the only authority in the UK to offer nine bins, some 20 councils are not far behind, providing no fewer than seven, according to the study. These include Aberdeenshire, Middlesbrough, Neath Port Talbot and Warwick. At the other end of the scale, however, two councils – Dumfries and Galloway and the Isles of Scilly – collect just one bin.

Certainly, local authorities are under pressure to improve the amount that they recycle. They can be fined for sending waste to landfill and for failing to meet European Union targets.

This appears to have made an impact, with 40% of England’s household waste now being recycled, composted or reused.

Residents have said they would like a more streamline approach.

However, Trevor Nicoll, head of recycling and fleet services at Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, defends the nine-bin system.

He says that the council have managed to save £500,000 from his department’s budget and that the borough’s recycling rate had gone up from 27% to 50%.

A part of BBC News Magazine, Who, What, Why? aims to answer questions behind the headlines Mr Nicholl argues it is wrong to imply that households were compelled to fill nine containers every week.

“There’s no compulsory requirement for people to use the system – basically, people can be flexible to use the container they need for the service they want,” he says.

“The reason we’ve gone for a bag system rather than bins, where other councils maybe have three or four wheelie bins, is that it can be flexible so if you haven’t got the space they can stack back into the other boxes, so it’s being flexible for the needs of different people.”

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