Sustainability

Gwynedd expands recycling collections

Gwynedd Council has expanded its recycling service to include a greater range of plastics and beverage cartons as part of its weekly blue box collections.

As part of the drive to increase its recycling rate, Gwynedd Council now allows the following items to be included in the weekly blue box collections:

  • plastic pots such as yoghurt or fresh cream pots of all sizes, pots for other shop-bought deserts;
  • plastic tubs such as those used for margarine, soft cheese and ice cream;
  • punnets or plastic pots that contain fresh fruit, vegetables, salads and mushrooms;
  • plastic tubs which contain laundry and dishwasher tablets or capsules;
  • plastic trays for meat and fish;
  • other plastic trays, such as those inside biscuit or cracker boxes;
  • plastic containers for ready meals or take-away meals; and
  • all drink cartons, including milk cartons, fruit juice containers and smaller individual portion cartons, which are drunk through a straw.

The council already collects plastic bottles, cardboard, paper, glass, and cans. However, it cannot currently collect plastic wrapping, bubble wrap, polystyrene or polythene bags.

Speaking of the expansion, Councillor Gareth Roberts, Gwynedd Council's Cabinet member for the Environment, said that the move had come in response to growing demand for a more comprehensive recycling service: “The council has been able to collect the higher quality plastics, such as milk and pop bottles, in the blue box for a number of years. However, people have been asking us to extend the service.

“We have listened to these requests, and we are delighted to announce that we have come to an agreement with a new north Wales based company who have agreed to accept and recycle the lower quality plastic on our behalf.

“This means that we can now collect things like old yoghurt pots, plastic trays for meat and fish, margarine tubs, ice cream tubs and plastic washing powder tubs for recycling. We are also extending the service to include cartons, such as fruit juice and milk containers.

“We are asking people to wash and squash their containers, and to put them out with their other recyclables on their usual collection day.”

According to Plastecowood, the Bodelwyddan-based plastic recycling company that is now taking some of the council’s rigid plastics, collected low-grade plastic is sorted and melted before being moulded into ‘Smartawood’, a wood-imitation material to produce fencing, tables, and bollards.

Recycling targets

Welsh councils were required by statute to recycle 52 per cent of their municipal waste by the end of March 2013. Under the self-imposed recycling targets, this rate will increase to 58 per cent by 2015/16, 64 per cent by 2019/20 and 70 per cent by 2024/25.

However, Gwynedd Council states that it currently recycles or composts 50 per cent of its domestic waste, below the 52 per cent target.

Although figures for the quarter up to March 2013 are currently unavailable, a Gwynedd Council spokesperson told Resource: ‘All the relevant data for the period up to 31 March 2013 is currently being collated and checked. It is expected that this process will be completed within the next few weeks and the final percentage published before the end of May.’

Resource previously reported that in 2010/11 Gywnedd Council came 75th of 202 UK councils, recycling, composting or reusing 45.3 per cent of its household waste. By the end of March 2012, a year before the government’s deadline, this had increased to 49.5 per cent. The rate fell to 48.1 per cent in April to June 2012, before climbing to 51.7 per cent in July to September 2012.

‘More to be done’

Councillor Roberts continued: “I'm really pleased that so much of our waste is already being reused and I would like to thank everyone who takes the time to separate their waste for recycling for their efforts.

“However, there is always more to be done. For every box full of waste that is reused, the equivalent weight of rubbish is still buried in landfill sites. I'm sure there are many other people who, like me, don't want to leave this sort of legacy for future generations to deal with.

“I would urge people to use the recycling services on offer, and encourage family, friends and neighbours to do the same.”

Residents are asked to separate their recycling into the following sections: food and drink cans, aerosols and foil; all plastics and drinks cartons; glass bottles and jars; and paper and cardboard.

Read more about recycling in Gwynedd.