Since last September when I wrote to the Star expressing my concerns over the changes to bin collections, I’ve read a number of letters and articles confirming that many others share the same view, namely that the new system took no account of people’s changing shopping habits.
It’s obvious to anyone who regularly walk round Sheffield that on-line shopping generates a lot more paper and cardboard packaging and a number of households find the blue bins cannot hold a month’s collection.
Coun Lewis Dagnall has finally accepted that this is an issue and has said the households will soon be able to request additional recycling capacity. Can we take it to mean residents will be able to have an additional blue or brown bin, something that was allowed under the previous system?
Will Coun Dagnall also capitulate over the council’s stance on recycling? Many residents wish to see more recycling here, borne out by the Lib Dems’ long-running campaign on this. The priorities are to reduce the amount of plastics used, reuse as much as possible and recycle what can’t be reused.
However, plastics can only be recycled a limited number of times and the city is lucky to have a highly efficient incinerator, the most environmentally-friendly way of removing plastics at the end of their useful life. But times change, the contract with Veolia will expire and technology in plastics is improving.
Coun Dagnall claims that the changes to collections will save money. Has he not heard the saying ‘where there’s muck there’s brass’?
A Veolia processing facility in South London sees a market in it at least, as well as environmental benefits. It can sort eight types of plastics as well as the paper, card, glass and metals. As in Sheffield, what can’t be recycled is sent for incineration. The Labour city council can learn from facilities like this so why doesn’t it?
There are calls for plastic manufacturers to restrict themselves to three types of polymer which can be easily recycled and for the Government to legislate for these changes and other measures to make recycling easier and more lucrative.
Change is coming and a city the size of Sheffield should be looking to the future and planning for this now. As it is it’s left to small groups who want to reduce waste and recycle more to organise this themselves.
And guess what, there’s money in it too!