What next for waste?

Waste and recycling

Discussion started: 31/08/07
Discussion ended: 30/09/07


We asked you how you think waste services in Bristol should be developed and for your top three suggestions for improvements to the household waste and recycling service.

Comment wrap-up

Comments raised on ASK Bristol were analysed and combined with the Citizens Jury 2007 report for further consideration.

Key points raised on service improvements were:

  • enable the whole city to receive the full recycling service;
  • more public recycling facilities such as split street bins, mini recycling centres, more on street facilities;
  • more tips/disposal centres;
  • consider more options for disposing of plastics (including packaging);
  • simplify the collections;
  • work with businesses to reduce packaging or introduce reuse policies;
  • work with landlords to make sure that tenants are aware of the waste and recycling system;
  • hold open days at disposal centres to improve understanding and awareness;
  • improve publicity about the tips; and
  • raffle or competition for those who do recycle and have more people work direct with those who don’t recycle.

The forum formed part of a public consultation into the development of waste and recycling collections across Bristol. There was some very positive feedback about the weekly food waste and cardboard collections with people feeling that along with the weekly black box collection they are now able to reduce their waste substantially.

Of the comments on the forum there were some common themes that appeared in the threads.  Our responses to the main points raised are laid out below.

Why don’t we recycle plastics? – The issue of plastic recycling is a common query and requires a thorough response which will be available shortly.  Each resident has a plastic bottle bank within 1 mile of their home.  We offer 39 collection points across Bristol.  They are placed in areas such as supermarkets and local community sites so we hope that people combine recycling and shopping journeys.

Why don’t the council make retailers reduce packaging?  A number of people raised their concerns about the amount of plastic packaging that retailers use to wrap food and suggested that the council tackle this issue by putting pressures on supermarkets to reduce such packaging.

The reduction of packaging is being dealt with by central government and is not an issue that local authorities are able to legislate on.  Through the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) the government are working in partnership with retailers and manufacturers to reduce the amount of packaging that ends up in the household bin.  The partnership resulted in the Courtlauld Commitment that has been signed by the UK’s 13 major retailers; it encourages producer responsibility by introducing a range of measures to reduce excess packaging.

The Retail Packaging Private Members Bill that is being discussed in Parliament would if passed, require ‘relevant’ retailers to provide facilities for customers to return packaging for recycling.

As a local authority we work in partnership with major local retailers in providing recycling facilities on-site and are discussing options for collecting a wider range of materials at major retail sites. (See Tetra Pak below).

Tetra Pak – Bristol City Council hopes to have Tetra Pak recycling in place during 2008.  The Council, together with SITA our waste contractors, is meeting with Tetra-Pak shortly to discuss all the possible options for this type of recycling before a scheme is introduced in Bristol.

Composting at Home – A significant amount of organic waste can be diverted from landfill through composting either at home or using our garden and food waste collections.  We encourage people to compost at home where possible.  From January to October 2007, Bristol City Council has sold over 4,900 compost bins, through a reduced price offer provided by WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme).  This offer will run until March 2008, in its current form, and will continue after this date, albeit in a slightly different format.  If you would like to order a compost bin, and live in Bristol, please call 0845 077 0757 or go on-line at www.recyclenow.com/compost.

Mini Recycling Centres – Several people shared the concern that they were unable to recycle materials whilst living in flats.  Currently the Mini Recycling Centre (MRC) service is offered to over 17,000 households in developments that cannot use the black box scheme such as blocks of flats.  An MRC consists of a number of large wheelie bins for the collection of glass, paper and cans. Currently this service is not available to all residents who live in flats but is being extended to 100% of flats by 2010.

Food Waste and Cardboard Recycling – It is also planned to extend the food and cardboard waste collections to a further 4,000 households by March 2008, as well as 30 schools.  Many of these additional households will include blocks of flats.

Fly-tipping & Littering Enforcement – Fly-tipping is of a concern to many residents in Bristol and involves dumped business waste as well as dumped domestic waste or black bags.  The street scene Enforcement Officers investigate fly-tipping citywide leading to fines and prosecutions.  The team also work closely with partner agencies such as the Environment Agency and the Police. E nforcement Officers also issue fixed penalty notices (FPNs) of £75 for dropping litter, carry out covert and overt CCTV monitoring of hotspots and inspect businesses to ensure they are disposing of waste correctly.  Additional enforcement activities are scheduled throughout the year to coincide with educational campaigns on issues such as fast food litter and cigarette litter.

Kerbside recycling collection concerns – If you would like to report a missed collection or any other concerns about the recycling collections, please call our customer services line on 0117 922 3838 and we will return to collect the recycling within two days.

We hope that you find this response useful and informative and thank you for your participation in the forum.  Any other questions please contact the Recycling Helpline on 922 3838 or email recycling@bristol.gov.uk

The Recycling Team

Background Papers