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Government ‘not understanding reality’ over waste target proposals, councillors say

Nottingham Councillors have accused the Government of “not understanding reality” over recycling target proposals which could lead to more bins to separate waste.

The Government has set a national target to increase the amount of waste recycled in England to 65 per cent, while keeping waste that ends up in landfill below 10 per cent.

While Nottingham currently only sends around eight per cent of its collected waste to landfill, the council says its recycling rates need to be improved.

The city’s recycling rate in 2019 was 27 per cent. By October this year it had fallen to 23.9 per cent.

Waste that does not get recycled or sent to landfill is incinerated to create energy.

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The council is now holding a public consultation, which will end on December 14, to determine how waste will be collected in the future as it seeks to become carbon neutral by 2028.

The proposals were discussed at a Nottingham City Council scrutiny committee meeting at Loxley House on November 9.

Antony Greener, a council officer working in waste and sustainability, said: “The philosophy from central Government is the more you segregate that source and get the household to do the sorting for you rather than it being sorted centrally at a sorting facility, the greater quality of product you end up with.

“Unfortunately at the end of that chain it puts an onus on the general public to do more than they do now which is to put it in one bin. Therefore we have presented a couple of new options.”

Residents are being asked to choose between two different methods of waste collection: Twin stream and multi-stream.

Twin stream means residents will get a container for food waste, collected every week, as well as a container for paper and card and a bin for their remaining recycling including glass, plastic and cartons.

These will be collected fortnightly.

Multi-stream will mean residents will get multiple containers for food waste, paper and card, as well as separate containers for each recycling material such as glass and plastic.

This method will require a new type of bin lorry and waste would be collected weekly.

More than 30 per cent of waste collected in Nottingham’s green bins is food waste and so a separate food waste container would be provided in both cases.

Penalties for persistent offenders in recycling contamination are also being discussed.

Numerous councillors have however raised concerns that the new systems may prove problematic.

Hyson Green and Arboretum Cllr, Merlita Bryan (Lab), said: “I think it is going to be very, very difficult in some areas.

“With all these bins some people haven’t got enough places to put one bin, never mind two or three.”

Cllr Georgia Power (Lab), who represents Bestwood, echoed Cllr Bryan’s concerns and said: “This proposal, I understand the reasons why we are having to do it, but it sounds like something someone in Whitehall has come up with without understanding the reality.

“In my ward we have got some flats where they isn’t physically space to put more than one residual waste bin, it is not that they wouldn’t want to, it just doesn’t exist.

“We have got flats with bin chutes with disabled residents who couldn’t carry bags down stairs. Again we have got quite a lot of residents who are elderly or disabled who couldn’t carry big boxes or bags to the front.”

Mr Greener added it would be a “five to ten year transition” and new systems will be piloted before being put in place across the city.

Food waste trials will first be piloted in areas such as the Berridge and Dales wards to gauge success before implementation.

A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokeswoman added: “We want to introduce consistent collections across England, to end the confusion for millions of homes and businesses of having different materials collected in different areas.

“We are committed to introducing measures that will see at least 65% of household waste being recycled by 2035. There are no plans to impose recycling targets on individual local authorities but we will work with them to look at other metrics for recycling.”

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