Wheelie Bin News Roundup 27th January
If you think you’re doing well with your waste reduction and recycling efforts, be prepared to be impressed by the almost superhuman efforts of a family in Cheltenham who only fill their wheelie bin ONCE per year!
They made a pledge at the beginning of last year that they would cut back on waste, and said they would try to only fill their bin six times per year. But by the time October came around, they hadn’t even filled their bin once!
The avid recyclers said it was very tough cutting back on waste that dramatically, but they made some lifestyle changes that helped, including growing their own herbs, buying packaging-free food, and putting their non-recyclables inside plastic bottles to create more space in their bin. They said one of their biggest challenges was learning the rules on how to recycle or dispose of things that you don’t always think about, like light bulbs. They also found they could recycle things like clothing, batteries, and electricals at supermarkets, which was a revelation.
And their zero-waste lifestyle didn’t just extend to rubbish, they also kept their carbon emissions in check by cycling everywhere they could instead of taking the car. The family have previously resolved to stop buying clothes for a year and have cut down on their meat consumption.
They say their family have been very supportive of their efforts, and even gave them their Christmas presents in recyclable bags instead of wrapping paper.
Speaking of family, their main hope is that they are setting a good example for their young son about recycling and caring for the environment.
When asked about their achievements, they say they are proud of what they’ve managed to do, but said that the government should put pressure on businesses to reduce waste and recycle more, as they can do this on a much larger scale than individuals. Nevertheless, they say that they’d encourage anyone to do whatever they can, and it doesn’t have to be as drastic as what they have chosen to do themselves. Every little helps!
Stratford District Council have come up with a rather bizarre way of catching homeowners who put garden waste in with their general waste; they’re considering asking refuse crews to rattle the bins. The thinking behind this is that if there are branches or grass cuttings in it, the ‘rattle test’ will identify them. Residents say it’s ‘bonkers’ but the council insist that they are getting serious about waste contamination.
The council have recently introduced a £40 charge for a green garden waste bin and they are expecting some residents to forgo paying for the bin and sneak the garden waste in with their household waste instead.
As well as introducing the ‘rattle test’ refuse vehicles will be fitted with CCTV cameras to inspect the contents of the bins before they are emptied.
The council currently has a ‘three strikes’ rule. If residents are caught putting the wrong items in their bins more than three times, they face being fined. A local councillor commented that the council recognises that people do make genuine mistakes, but persistent offenders won’t be tolerated.
Residents in Cardiff who continuously put non-recyclables in their recycling containers face fines and even prosecution if they don’t take notice of warnings about recycling properly. The council is cracking down on rogue recyclers in a bid to reduce contamination and increase recycling rates.
The council is set to roll out a new recycling campaign at the beginning of March, called ‘See Pink, Stop and Think.’ As part of the campaign, pink stickers will be put on recycling and garden waste bags that contain the wrong type of waste. Then there’ll be a five-step process of warnings and notices before a £100 fine is issued, or a resident is taken to court.
When a pink sticker is placed on a recycling bag, residents have to remove the items that aren’t supposed to be there before their next scheduled collection.
The stickers will also ask residents to visit a website containing information on what they can and can’t recycle. If people persistently put the wrong items in their recycling, waste education officers will go out and visit them to help them understand more about recycling correctly.
The pink sticker scheme is being launched after figures recently revealed that 20% of the waste that is being put out for recycling contains items that can’t be accepted for recycling, like nappies, clothing, non-recyclable packaging, and food waste. Garden waste is also being contaminated with items like cardboard and bits of old garden furniture.
Currently, 7,000 tonnes of waste ends up being unrecyclable due to contamination, and the council hopes that the new scheme will put an end to this, as well as increasing overall recycling rates and saving them a huge £750,000 per year.
Cardiff is a big city, but it had the third lowest recycling rate in Wales in 2018-19, at 59.2%. The council hopes it can follow in the footsteps of Swansea Council, who introduced their ‘Keep It Out’ campaign last year. The campaign followed a similar process of education and enforcement, and as a result, there has been a 15% reduction in residual waste and a 2% increase in recycling rates.