Recycling rates in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire are currently at an all-time high, despite reports that some residents are finding the recycling system difficult to cope with.
An article published in the Daily Mail last Saturday said that some residents were struggling with up to nine different bins for all of their waste and recyclables, although the council insist that the majority of residents are in favour of the system and it is their preferred method.
The new system, which came into place in March, has been rolled-out to 52,000 households in the borough and involves up to nine different containers for source separated collection of recyclables and residual waste.
This includes separate bins, bags or boxes for food waste, plastic bottles, heavy duty paper and card, paper and magazines, textiles, glass and also garden waste.
However, the council is keen to point out that the extent to which people participate in recycling is voluntary and nobody is forced to have all nine receptacles.
A council spokesman said: “Participation is not compulsory and residents decide to what degree they take part, however over 90% of residents do take part.”
Additionally having some degree of source separated collection is not a new thing for the council. The spokesman explained: “The council has always had a number of containers – it hasn’t jumped from one to nine.
“Collecting materials separately rather than from one bin means that they do not become contaminated, remain high quality and can all be recycled, instead of being rejected.”
The council insist that the scheme was designed with terraced housing in mind so lack of space to accommodate the bins shouldn’t be an issue.
They admit they have received some complaints about the new system but that these have been minimal in comparison to the number of households involved in the scheme.
The spokesman said: “The council has received a total of 53 complaints since the beginning of March – 22 in March and 31 in April so far. These complaints were mainly because a handful of people did not receive their service introduction packs and some residents did not have their recycling picked up because of an overlap with the collection dates for the new service.
“Some people have contacted us to ask for extra bins and bags so they can recycle more.”
The effects of the new recycling scheme seem to have been positive. Council figures suggest that recycling rates have increased from 28% to around 55% as a result.