Shock as recycling rates decline

Wigan Council recycling depot, Makerfield Way, Ince
Wigan Council recycling depot, Makerfield Way, Ince
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WIGANERS seem to be losing the knack of recycling, disappointing new figures reveal.

Data released under Freedom of Information rules reveal that Wigan Council recycled 62,763 tonnes of rubbish from kerbside collections and recycling centres in 2014, compared with 68,763 in 2013.

By the end of September last year it had recycled 44,776 tonnes - the most recent figure available. But if that trend continued to the end of the year, the overall 2015 figure could be less than 60,000 tonnes.

It is still better than the 2011 stats when 52,538 tonnes were recycled.

But the amount of waste sent to the dump has gone up. In fact 7,112 tonnes went to landfill between January to September last year compared with 5,107 tonnes for the whole of 2014. This means the council is hit by more landfill tax although it credits this with a hike in the overall amount of rubbish to dispose of.

Before 2014 the recycling figures had been going dramatically in the right direction with landfill-bound waste reduced from a massive 71,419 tonnes in 2011 to 9,602 in 2013.

A determinedly upbeat authority said that despite the more recent figures, as a result of The Deal people have been recycling more and wasting less since 2011.

Paul Barton, council assistant director for operational services, said: “Kerbside recycling hasn’t dropped in Wigan borough. We are pleased that our residents are recycling more than ever. We would like to thank them for recycling more as part of The Deal. We are above the national average for all councils across the UK.

“During April 2014 and March 2015 a massive 48,552 tonnes of recycling was collected from the blue, brown and green bins. That’s equivalent to the weight of over 1,800 bin wagons full. A total of 532 tonnes more was collected than during 2013-14.

“The amount of waste as a whole, including black bin waste, that we are generating is going up and this means that even though our kerbside recycling tonnage was better than the previous year our percentage recycled as whole has dropped.

“This increase in black bin waste is likely due to the economy improving and consumption going up therefore more waste overall is generated.

“We know residents are already recycling but we need to work even harder with our residents to recycle more and reduce cross bin contamination. We recognise that one of the things that could be recycled more is food waste.

“To make sure that we recycle as much as possible efficiently, we have invested in a new organic recycling centre that focuses on the recycling collected in the green bin and we are continuing to refurbish and improve our household recycling centres. We also working closely with our new waste management contractor to explore other ways we can recycle more of the borough’s waste.”