Leeds city council is rolling out a scheme, which gives the option for residents to opt-in to recycling.
By Jessica Kay
Green bins are being phased out for all but the keenest of recyclers. Leeds residents will continue to have access to a green bin service, if they opt in. Council members hope that it will reduce contamination of recyclable waste and prevent pathway obstruction.
The LS6 constituency, Headingley and Hyde park, has piloted the scheme successfully and soon others areas in Leeds will be targeted.
Leeds city council held a scrutiny meeting this week to discuss the issues surrounding recyclable waste management and kerbside collection.
Chief Officer, Helen Freeman, explains some of the current problems: “We have areas where there are lots of bins on the streets that are causing obstruction, but also where the recycling infrastructure isn’t delivering in terms of providing high quality recyclable waste that we can do something with.”
Education and engagement with the public
Councillors consider enforcement a “last resort” for managing contamination and obstruction of pathways. Before they take this action, they aim to educate and engage the public.
John Woolmer, Deputy Chief officer for Waste Management says, “It fundamentally does comes down to trying to change behaviours city-wide and try to work with as many people as we can.”
Stickers were placed on 95,000 bins in areas with low recycling rates. Stickers are also placed on all new bins issued.
In addition, Leeds city council website is used to educate the public. This method was criticised in the meeting by Councillors who say people are unlikely to engage this way.
Students are the least likely to recycle, according to survey conducted by Serco’s environmental services. This is acknowledged by Leeds city council. The council stay in communication with students by working with the Universities and student unions.
Cllr Hannah Bithall, recollects her time as a student in Leeds: “As local students we couldn’t recycle because we knew full well that and had been told that because so much of it was contaminated our recycling was a complete waste of time…”
Council Officer, Helen Freeman, says: “[Our] commitment to recycling remains undiminished and we are increasingly ambitious to do an awful lot more in the city.”