Residents across the district have rubbished Banbridge District Council’s plans to extend its new monthly black bin collection service.
At the start of this year 1,500 homes began receiving a four weekly black bin collection service, with continued two weekly collections of the green and brown recycling bins.
This was a trial change to the bin collection service for two of the council’s collection routes – one urban and one rural.
The scheme was introduced following concerns that too much recyclable waste was still being placed by some householders in the black bin rather than the green and brown bins.
A spokesperson for the council said; “Banbridge District Council prides itself on its progressive and creative approach to environmental issues, none more so than its dedication to improving the district’s recycling rates and reducing the amount of waste needlessly sent to landfill.
“With the government planning a ban on the landfilling of food waste and the tax on landfilled waste having risen to £80 per tonne, the council has been exploring ways to encourage every household in the district to use their black bin less and their green and brown bins more.
“Prior to the introduction of brown and green recycling bins every household in the district had just one 240 litre black bin collected weekly.
“With the addition of the two recycling bins, householders were now able to recycle from home, however the continued availability of so much black bin space could be seen as a disincentive to place all recyclable waste materials into the green and brown bins.
“The introduction of the trial scheme was designed to address this specific issue. “
David Lindsay, Director of Environmental Services commented, “This gives clear and unambiguous priority to recycling over landfill. Having developed a system that provides opportunities for a wide range of items and materials to be recycled at the kerbside, the council felt that there is now an over supply of bin space and that too much of that is black bin space.
“The vast majority of waste generated in homes is recyclable - and if all recyclable waste is placed correctly into the green and brown bins, 240 litres of black bin space spread over a four week period has been proven to be adequate for the remaining small fraction of non-recyclable waste.”
Councillor Olive Mercer, Chairman of the Environmental Services Committee added, “The trial was designed to test the viability of the new bin collection rota and assess its impact on the recycling behaviours of householders.”
The Council spokesperson said: “The initial trial has had a staggering positive impact on the recycling rates across the bin collection routes involved. The kerbside recycling rate rose by over 39% compared to the same period last year, with the amount of waste placed in black bins falling by over 50%. The numbers of householders using their recycling bins has also significantly increased with the set out rate of brown bins rising by over 15% and an increase of over 7% for green bins. The net cost for kerbside waste collections fell by 40% and it is estimated that if this were to be realised across the entire district, annual savings of over £1/3 million in waste management costs would be added to the significant level of annual savings already being accrued through existing recycling measures.”Lynsey Daly, the Banbridge District Council’s Waste and Environment Manager commented: “When given the opportunity to discuss any concerns or reservations the overwhelming majority of householders were amazed at the range of items and materials that should be going into the green and brown bins and just how little is left to go in the black bin. What prompted this extra consideration by householders was undoubtedly the need to dispose of waste in a way that ensures their black bin space will last for four weeks.”
The council has also made arrangements for those with special circumstances such as a need for routine disposal of clinical waste. In large households with five or more occupants who are able to demonstrate that they are recycling correctly to the best of their ability, requests for larger green bins can be considered.
The council also launched its new free recycling app, called “Bin-ovation”, which can be downloaded onto smartphones and tablet devices via the Apple App Store or Google Play. The first of its kind launched by a NI Council, the app has a search device to allow householders to find out where specific items and materials should be disposed of as well as set reminders for bin collection days and receive waste collection and recycling information messages.
Following the introduction of the expanded trail careful monitoring will provide further valuable information in preparation for the introduction of the new Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council in April 2015, which will be seeking to develop a new strategy that maximises recycling and minimises waste management costs for ratepayers across the entire new district.