William Eichler 28 November 2018

Council abandons controversial plan to drop kerbside plastic collection

Swindon council has decided to abandon controversial proposals to withdraw the kerbside collection of plastics and says it will carry out further ‘research and planning’ on this issue.

The borough council will consider a series of proposals to change the way the authority manages waste over the next decade at next week’s cabinet meeting.

The new strategy, which comes at the end of a six-week consultation period that had 3,000 responses, focuses on reducing the amount of waste people produce.

It also looks at increasing recycling and making sure all waste is dealt with responsibly.

The year one plan that councillors will consider includes increased education, a policy of mandatory recycling, charges for recycling boxes and further research into plastic collections and treatment.

The council initially proposed withdrawing the kerbside collection of plastics in order to stop collecting low-grade plastic. They said that rather than being recycled it would often end up in landfill or being illegally dumped.

In response, the environment minister Therese Coffey wrote to Cllr Maureen Penny, Swindon’s cabinet member for highways and the environment, describing the idea as a ‘regressive step’.

The Government is setting all local authorities the target of recycling 50% of their waste by 2020. Swindon’s current recycling rate stands at 38% — a 12% decrease since 2010.

Commenting on the new strategy, Cllr Penny said: ‘The Waste Strategy sets out a clear ambition that in the next 10 years Swindon will become a national leader in not only recycling but also waste reduction.

‘We have listened to what people told us during our engagement exercise and over the next few months we will be doing some more work to make sure any changes we make are the right ones for Swindon and its residents.’

‘Plastics are still a big problem for us and it was made clear in the responses to our engagement that residents feel the same way,’ she continued.

‘I look forward to seeing what positive changes the Government will propose in their upcoming Waste Strategy and in the meantime I will be asking my officers to do further research and planning.’

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