Wales

Taxpayers Alliance: 'Frustrating' recycle bin numbers

Recycling box
Image caption Residents in Wales can be asked to separate their rubbish between four and seven different bins, bags and containers

Householders in Wales face sorting rubbish into a "ridiculous" number of recycling bins a pressure group claims.

The Taxpayers' Alliance said with Welsh councils using up to seven different containers, well-meaning people could be under "needless pressure" and it was not a good way to encourage recycling.

The Welsh Local Government Association said councils had the right to find the best collection methods for residents.

It said different, segregated bins were needed to stop contamination.

The Welsh Assembly Government has said that by 2025, 70% of household waste must be recycled or composted and no more than 5% of waste should be sent to landfill.

Failure to comply could result in substantial fines.

Research by the Taypayers' Alliance found councils in Wales issued an average of five bins, bags and boxes for residents to divide up their household waste.

The average for England is four, although the council with the most bins for collection is Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, with nine.

The pressure group argued that "plenty of local authorities cope with three bins". No council in Wales uses less than four bins to collect materials.

'Contamination'

Its policy analyst Chris Daniel said: "Having to sort rubbish into numerous bins often frustrates taxpayers, even if they want to recycle.

"It's ridiculous that some councils ask for waste to be sorted into seven bins or more.

"This places needless pressure on households and isn't a good way of encouraging recycling.

"Plenty of local authorities cope with three bins, so there's no reason others can't too."

A Welsh Local Government Association spokesperson said: "The Welsh Assembly Government's preferred approach is a source-segregated one, as collecting them together can result in contamination and higher reject rates.

'Bogged down'

"The net result of all of this is that there is a need for more receptacles to collect the different wastes.

"Separate food waste collection means that the food can be treated and turned into compost.

"Separate collections of cans, paper, plastics, glass etc also ensure that these materials can be recycled instead of being buried."

Mal Williams of Cylch, the Wales Community Recycling Network, said focusing on the number of bins detracted from the importance of recycling.

"I think we get a bit bogged down in these sort of details - the most important thing is to think about what works, what actually achieves the recyling that we want, what actually changes us from a wasting society to a recycling society.

"I think there is an optimum number of bins and probably four or five is enough but the main thing is to keep food waste away from everything else and then everything else isn't quite as smelly and sticky and then you can treat it as the resource that it is.

Mr Williams said this other waste could then be converted into "usable products".

A Welsh Assembly Government spokesperson said: "Sustainable waste management, including higher levels of recycling, are a more cost effective option than landfill, which has been used in the past.

"Therefore, if local authorities succeed in meeting targets in the most sustainable way, they will not incur fines and should make savings on the cost of service provisions."

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