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Industry rebuts recycling box safety claims

The Resource Association (RA) and industry companies have hit back at claims that recycling boxes pose a safety hazard for workers.

Last month the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health said its research had found the incidence of musculoskeletal injuries fell when wheeled bins were used instead of boxes.

It said bending to handle boxes could cause back injuries, and urged local authorities to discontinue box-type collections “as a matter of urgency”.

But RA chief executive Ray Georgeson said: “The findings of this study do not appear to have kept pace with the evolution of kerbside box collection systems, using examples from nearly a decade ago that are now mainly discontinued.”

Bryson Recycling, which collects from more than 180,000 households using both boxes and ‘wheelie’ boxes, also questioned the institution’s findings.

Director Eric Randall said: “Unfortunately, the report uses a very poor example of kerbsort practise and then wrongly extrapolates the findings.

“Box collections are a well-established, safe method of collecting high-quality recyclables, a fact that is reflected in this method being the recommended collection model by independent studies and Government departments across the UK.”

Bryson said the institution had largely ignored the impact of moving to a four-day week, and had included monthly glass collections and other examples of poor practise in its research.

Jonathan Straight, former owner of kerbside box manufacturer Straight, said: “The kerbside boxes we supplied fully met the manual handling guidelines issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). We engaged with the HSE in order to properly advise our customers, to issue good practice guidance and to inform our designers for further improved handling on new designs of products.”


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