From The Argus –
Hundreds more tonnes of waste could be spared from landfill and recycled in an expanded wheelie bin scheme.
Brighton and Hove City Council is considering offering the new recycling scheme to 60,000 more homes following a trial in Hangleton and Portslade which has seen recycling rates rise by four per cent.
But unions have questioned how the £1.1 million roll out will be funded and warned residents that the “under-resourced” refuse service would struggle to maintain improved rates on an expanded service.
GMB branch secretary Mark Turner said the scheme would require an additional £1 million in staff and vehicle costs to maintain the trial’s improved recycling rates long-term.
The introduction of wheelie bins is the latest move by the council to raise the city’s recycling rates which are among the worst in the country.
The trial of 4,000 households in 80 streets has seen 1.1 kg more waste per collection recycled and household waste drop by 1.2kg per household in the first six months since its launch in November.
Council officers have received dozens of inquiries from residents elsewhere in the city asking for recycling wheelie bins.
The 240 litre wheelie bin has a similar capacity to five black recycling boxes with the advantage of being covered – wet paper and cardboard is often rejected for recycling.
But black boxes will not be done away completely as residents with wheelie bins still need one to store glass.
Unlike other residents elsewhere in the county who put all recyclable material in one wheelie bin, Brighton and Hove City Council’s agreement with Veolia means the authority is paid more money if glass is recycled separately.
Mr. Turner said the trial had not been given enough time to bed in and that a decision on expanding it should only be made when year round results were available.
He said: “Participation has gone up during the trial because resources have been committed and residents have received a gold-plated, Rolls Royce service at the expense of other areas in the city.
“The service is already under-resourced at the moment with problems in getting vehicles and crews out and that’s what they should solve first and make sure that a full service is run.
“Those nice new wheelie bins aren’t going to benefit residents if they are not being picked up.”
Councillor Gill Mitchell, lead for environment, said: “Results from the recycling wheelie bin trial have been really encouraging.
“We know that there is a strong demand for recycling wheelie bins from residents in other areas of the city so I am pleased that we are now in a position to consider extending the service to many more households.
“This is a major step towards our commitment to provide a more ‘tailor made’ recycling service for all our residents.”