Three bin bag campaign reduces city rubbish collection by 25%

Three bin bag campaign reduces city rubbish collection by 25%
By South Wales Evening Post | Posted: April 18, 2015

SWANSEA has made a giant leap forward in meeting Welsh Government recycling targets, as latest figures reveal the amount of black bags placed out for collection around the city has reduced by more than 25 per cent in 12 months.

The sharp reduction has been achieved following the introduction of a three-bag limit by Swansea Council in April 2014.

The council launched the Keep it to 3 campaign city-wide, as a way of boosting recycling to help meet government targets and reduce the amount of black bag waste sent to landfill.

The changes have meant that residents can put no more than three black bags out on collection day.

Councillor Mark Thomas, cabinet member for environment and transportation, said: “The changes we made to collections, including the introduction of a limit, have been a real success so far. We have significantly reduced the amount of waste we send to landfill.”

The council also carried out extensive door-to-door surveys across the city to encourage households to use the recycling services available to them.

Annual disposal figures show that in 2013-14, the council collected 30,660 tonnes of black bags from the kerbside. In 2014-15 the figures have dropped to 22,770 tonnes.

Mr Thomas added: “I’m delighted that the changes have had a positive impact, and that the residents have worked so hard with us to achieve the increase in recycling.

“The aim has always been to encourage residents to make better use of our kerbside recycling services, so that we can dispose of household waste in a better way than simply burying it in the ground.”

Council refuse staff slap stickers on black bin bags which exceed the limit of three and leave them at the kerb side, and warning letters are sent out to repeat offenders.

All councils in Wales need to achieve a 58 per cent recycling rate by 2016, rising to 70 per cent by 2025. Failure to do so could result in the council being fined.

Mr Thomas said: “We are certainly going in the right direction and we are doing all we can to give residents the opportunities to recycle and help us meet these targets.”

He added: “Our recycling teams did a huge amount of work, completing surveys throughout the city to find out who was recycling and what households needed to get them on board.”

Chris Howells, head of waste and parks, said in a council meeting earlier this year that “significant failings” in waste management have been turned around.

Mr Howells said the introduction of last April’s three black bag per household collection regime had been driving up recycling rates.

“Over the past 15 months we have improved matters,” said Mr Howells “Recycling performance has improved quite significantly and budgets have been well managed.”

He added: “Swansea, like other urban authorities, had many residents living in flats who struggled to store recycling, plus a big student population which needed educating on waste every year.”

Mr Howells was confident that Swansea could meet next year’s target, but warned that missing it by just 1 per cent could cost the authority £280,000.

Swansea University student Rebecca McIver told the Post: “There are six of us living in a student house, and the new three black bags per household system has not affected us, but in fact made us more eager to recycle.”

Rebecca, aged 20, who is currently living in Uplands, said: “The street is also looking cleaner on collection day.”

The council recently launched a trial plastics collection, using reusable pink sacks instead of disposable pink bags. If it’s successful, it could be rolled out across the city.

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