Wigan residents who put rubbish in the wrong bins could soon be given the option of taking an “awareness course” to avoid fines.
In early 2018, a recycling education centre and re-use shop is set to open at the Kirkless recycling centre in Ince, although a definite date is yet to be announced.
The new services, which will be funded by Wigan Council and delivered by homelessness charity The Brick and FCC Environment waste management, will include courses designed to soften the penalty for wrongful recycling.
Details have not yet been released about their specific content or a start date, but a spokesperson for The Brick has said that the main purpose is to educate residents and offer an alternative to fixed penalty notices issued by the town hall.
Getting folk to recycle correctly is beneficial to the local authority and taxpapers because the less waste that ends up buried or burnt, the less the town hall has to pay the Government in costly landfill tax.
Paul Barton, council assistant director for environment, said: “We are really pleased that we have been able to work in partnership with The Brick and our waste contractor FCC to deliver this project, which is being funded through our Deal for Communities Investment Fund.
“Our new recycling shop and education centre will allow us to recycle and re-use items that are brought into our recycling centres, meaning they get a second lease of life rather than going into landfill. Our recycling awareness sessions will also help educate and advise our residents allowing them to recycle more, recycle right.”
The sessions, as well as being offered to offenders, will stretch out to communities and training sessions are expected to take place for children as young as primary school age. The re-use shop will aim to collect items which are nearly new or still in good condition and offer them for sale, with proceeds being split between The Brick and FCC.
FCC Environment, which operates the household waste recycling centres at Slag Lane and Chanters Industrial Estate as well as Kirkless, says the concept has been a huge success at similar facilities elsewhere in the country.
Karl Battersby, director of economy and environment, at the town hall, said: “Recycling helps us to keep council tax low, protects frontline staff, for example school crossing patrols, and ensures we can continue to fund essential services.
“We knew more needed to be done for the borough to reach its savings and recycling target. If the borough doesn’t hit its recycling target of 50 per cent by 2020 it could be fined which may result in cuts to other services.
“Wigan Council was the third worst hit local authority in budget cuts and, by 2020, will have lost £160m in government grants.”