New bin-emptying policy introduced for South Ribble’s blue recyclable waste wheelie bins

New bin-emptying policy introduced for South Ribble’s blue recyclable waste wheelie bins

12th of November, 2020

PRESS RELEASE: Thursday 29 October 2020

South Ribble Borough Council will begin a new policy on Monday 2 November of only emptying residents’ blue wheelie bins if they are completely free of plastic bags, including wheelie bin liners. The council is introducing this new measure because when your recycling reaches the waste processing plant, any contaminated waste – such as items already bagged and tied up in a plastic bag – simply cannot be recycled. Residents should use their blue wheelie bin for clean plastic bottles, pots, tubs trays, glass bottles, jars, aerosols, clean tinfoil, and food and drink cans. All of these items, however, must not be bagged in a bin liner or plastic bag; they must simply be loose, placed directly into the blue bin.
Any blue wheelie bins in South Ribble which contain plastic bags will not be emptied. The council’s message is therefore simple: “Don’t bag it, to bin it!” - all blue wheelie bins in South Ribble have had a new sticker attached to the lid to inform residents of this change and to make it clear that plastic bags are not allowed in the blue bins. Bins containing plastic bags will not be emptied by council refuse collectors.

Councillor Sue Jones, Cabinet Member for Environment at South Ribble Borough Council, said: “Recycling rates in South Ribble are really good and we want to thank all our residents for making every effort to ensure that anything which can be recycled goes into the appropriate bin. The issue of what can go into the blue bin was recently examined by Lancashire County Council, who led a massive push to communicate effectively with residents that additional items – such as clean plastic pots, tub and trays – can now also be recycled in your blue bins. The next step for South Ribble Borough Council, in order to make sure we are able to recycle the absolute maximum amount your waste efficiently and effectively, is to say to residents: Please do not put plastic bags in your blue bins.”

“We realise that many people may have kitchen bins that are lined with a bin bag, and then they simply chuck this into the blue bin. However, this is not advantageous to our bin crews or the people tasked with sorting through the waste at the plant – in fact, it makes life a lot more difficult and leads to huge swathes of recyclable material going unrecycled, simply owing to waste contamination. Much of this is caused by plastic bags which cannot currently be recycled in South Ribble through your doorstep collection.” 

“So, while we can clearly see that people are trying to do the right thing by recycling in the first place, we want to just point out that a massive bin bag, or plastic bag, full of your cans, tins and bottles will actually have to be disposed of, rather than being recycled. It is therefore hugely important that we make sure our blue wheelie bins are completely free of plastic bags.”

As part of this project to ensure more waste can be recycled, and fewer plastic bags are used, Lancashire County Council has funded two temporary full-time officers to work at South Ribble Borough Council on this issue of waste contamination. They will be working with the council’s communications team and neighbourhoods team to make sure that the message is being heard, in order that we might witness an increase in the amount of waste that is being successfully recycled at the waste plant.