Recycling bin swap would cost very little

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ALLOWING Sheffield residents flexibility in the way they recycle could cost very little, the council’s head of waste management has said.

A programme to allow city residents to choose whether to use their blue bins or boxes to recycle paper or bottles and cans was halted when it had been introduced only in some parts of the city, in May.

The switch followed a year of complaints from residents who said the small boxes were unsuitable for holding heavy paper.

They would rather put paper in their blue wheelie bins, which now hold cans and bottles.

The former Lib Dem administration had pledged to push through a new system letting residents decide how to use their boxes or bins.

But in May the Labour party halted the scheme when it had been introduced only to some areas in the north and south-east of the city.

The council’s waste contractor Veolia had asked for more than £300,000 to introduce the flexible scheme.

But last night Gillian Charters, the council’s head of waste management, told the city’s economic and environment scrutiny board it had actually cost very little in the areas it was introduced - with leaflets explaining the new system proving to be the main expense.

Very few people, around 16 per cent, changed the way they recycled. She said: “When we went out very, very few people had swapped. Which meant we did not need the additional resources set aside.”

Lib Dem Coun David Baker proposed a motion for the scheme to be rolled out citywide - but Labour councillors voted down the motion.

Councillors who conducted a cross-party waste management review also criticised the way Veolia runs its service. Coun Jillian Creasy said: “It is clear how very difficult it is working with Veolia. There is a long way to go to push them into being more customer-focused.”