St Helens Labour have halted plans for three-weekly collections of the brown landfill bin and instead have prioritised new, better containers for recycling for every household in the borough.
Announcing the news, Cllr Lynn Clarke, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: “The Labour Party is committed to protecting the environment and tackling climate change, and we believe that most residents of St Helens are too. Recycling more of our waste is one of the most important things we can all do to protect our planet for future generations.
Yet as we’ve sought to increase recycling rates and reduce the amount of rubbish we send to landfill, we’ve listened to feedback from residents that the current recycling containers aren’t as good as they could be. The containers were also cited by the council’s own scrutiny report as a barrier to improving our recycling rates.
We’ve therefore sourced innovative new containers through a local company, Coral in Haydock, and we will be the first local authority in the UK to use them. The new containers will be piloted later this year in Town Centre ward in St Helens, on the current cycle of weekly recycling and fortnightly landfill (brown bin) collections. We’ll also be providing advice and support for residents, and we hope that we will see recycling rates increase significantly.
This will have the triple benefit of reducing the amount the Council needs to spend on landfill charges, avoiding Government fines and helping protect our environment.”
Council Leader David Baines says: “The question shouldn’t be ‘how often do we want to collect the landfill bin?’, but rather ‘how often do we need to collect the landfill bin?’. With the current recycling containers it’s clear that too many residents would struggle with three-weekly, so we’re prioritising new containers.
The bottom line is that as a society we simply have to recycle more, and we have to play our part here in St Helens. But residents need the tools to do the job.
Aside from the environmental reasons we should be recycling more, it also makes economic sense for the council and council taxpayers: landfill charges are 2.5 times as expensive as recycling.
As well as keeping a fortnightly landfill bin collection while we pilot new containers. We have also tasked Council officers with providing better information to help residents recycle.”
Since January 2019 the Council has extended the range of plastics it collects for recycling to include such items as pots and trays, and this has already had an impact on recycling levels. The current recycling rate for the Borough is 41.5%, but this falls short of our target rate of 50% by 2020 which we need to achieve in order to avoid Government passing on European Union fines of £750,000.