Recycling is on the agenda again at Nottinghamshire County Council with the proposal to give everyone a smaller black bin.
The rationale is that people will recycle more if there is less capacity in the black bin, but there is no proposal for a bigger green bin to accommodate all this extra recycling.
To make matters even worse there is also a proposal to shut many recycling centres too.
If everyone is recycling as per Ashfield District Council’s advice, then the people of Ashfield can’t easily recycle any more than they already do.
I am sure that there is room for improving recycling rates but I do see green bins overflowing on collection days. The problem that we have is that the contract that Nottinghamshire County Council negotiated and signed with Veolia to dispose of the county’s waste (including recycling) is too restrictive in my view.
Disposal of waste is a fast moving industry with changes to methods all the time, but Nottinghamshire is locked into a contract for 20 plus years which I feel is limiting our capability to recycle more.
Ashfield recycles 32.5% of waste that equates to 15,000 tonnes so there’s lots of room to recycle more and therefore divert more rubbish away from landfill.
These figures show that 67.5% of Ashfield’s waste is still just thrown away and this is a disgrace with very little progress being made.
There are so many items that the Veolia contract stops us from recycling such as cling film, bottle tops, ice cream tubs and drinks cartons - all everyday items.
So I question the relevance and the effectiveness of this very restricting contract.
It is impossible for district councils such as Ashfield to appoint other waste disposal company to recycle the waste that Veolia won’t because the Veolia contract will not allow that to happen.
There is a simple equation - make recycling easy for people and then people will do it.
Recycling must be on the doorstep and assisted with better and more up to date and effective contracts with waste disposal companies that can guarantee recyclable waste will be recycled.
Some at County Hall believe that incinerating rubbish to get heat is recycling but I argue against this thinking.
To me it does not make sense to take the earth’s resources, use them only once and then burn.
Those in power can then ease their consciences under the pretence of gaining energy from waste.
This is a very easy option, one that I feel is putting on hold new carbon neutral technologies.
So will having a smaller black bin work?
I fear not because making waste collections for residents more difficult will increase fly tipping and household waste will accumulate.
The only way to improve our recycling rates is to get out of this ineffective contract and re- negotiate with recycling at the heart of any waste disposal talks.