Chesterfield a step ahead tackling recycling problem – but 'much more can and should be done'

Chesterfield Council is ahead of the curve when it comes to a new recycling problem – but admits “much more” needs to be done.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 11:10 am

New research has revealed a recycling crisis in the UK with households simply running out of room in their bins and unable to recycle properly.

As bins bulge due to increased online shopping and extended time at home, 49 per cent admit to completely running out of space in their recycling bins with a quarter saying this happens every two weeks or more, according to a new study by recycling and packaging company DS Smith.

However, Chesterfield Council is one step ahead of the problem – with residents invited to apply for a second recycling bin if they find they are regularly filling theirs ahead of the fortnightly collection.

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Coun Jill Mannion-Brunt, council cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We know that for some larger families, it can be difficult fitting two weeks’ worth of recycling in their bin, that’s why we allow anyone that needs extra space regularly to request another recycling bin or caddie.

“This is a simple process that will only take about five minutes on our website.

“Residents can also place extra recycling next to their bin, but this should be in a plastic box or clear bag, so the crew can see it is recycling.

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Chesterfield Council is aiming to cut the amount of household waste sent for incineration and disposal, and increase its recycling rates.

Council targets 50 per cent recycling rate

In 2017-18, the council said 39,200 tonnes of waste were collected in the borough, 46.3 per cent of this was recycled and composted, while 53.7 per cent was sent for disposal.

Newly published Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs data shows the council collected 384.8 kilograms of household waste per person from homes in the area in 2019-20 – 7.8kg less than five years earlier and below the England average of 407.3kg.

Of the waste collected from homes in Chesterfield, 43.4 per cent was sent for reuse, recycling or composting – five years ago the rate was 42.3 per cent. The council has a target of recycling 50 per cent of waste.

Chesterfield Council wants to recycle at least 50 per cent of the household waste generated by its residents.

Coun Mannion-Brunt said: “Our recycling rate is slightly below the national average and we know much more can and should be done.

“We are currently developing plans to further increase the recycling rate in Chesterfield, including ongoing campaigns to encourage everyone across the borough to recycle more of the right things and ways to reduce waste.

“We also want to be proactive and we would encourage local businesses to use more reusable and recyclable packaging which will help increase recycling rates and reduce the amount of waste being sent for disposal.”

Coun Jill Mannion-Brunt, Chesterfield Council cabinet member for health and wellbeing.

Need for correct infrastructure

DS Smith says, as we see ever-increasing packaging coming into our homes, we need to ensure we have the right infrastructure in place to deal with it.

The company’s research shows the increase is caused by radical changes in how we have been shopping and living during Covid-19.

Online shopping was on the rise before Covid-19 but has been rapidly accelerated by the pandemic, indeed 70 per cent of Brits say they have shopped online more since the initial lockdown in March 2020.

Rogier Gerritsen, DS Smith managing director of recycling, said: “Even before the pandemic, we were making the switch to online shopping and working from home more, but restrictions due to Covid-19 have revolutionised these trends.

“With many of these changes looking set to stay, including our new recycling habits, we need to ensure our collections infrastructure enables us to recycle as much material as possible from our domestic streams.

“Consistency around recycling collections would also make it easier to improve recycling labelling, paving the way for a system where all packaging and collection infrastructures would have standardised recycling labels that sufficiently informs the consumer about what materials can be recycled where.“

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