Bolton Council reports £3.4m savings following ‘slim bins’ introduction

The introduction of ‘slim bins’ by Bolton Council in June 2016 has seen the local authority save £3.4 million in 12 months and record its highest ever-recycling rate, the council has reported, despite local opposition to the new bins.

Bolton Council reports £3.4m savings following ‘slim bins’ introduction
The Greater Manchester authority reports that more than half of all waste has been recycled over the last three months, exceeding the council’s annual target rate of 47 per cent in May, June and July.

The 140-litre slim grey bins were introduced last year in an attempt to save £1.25 million, increase public participation in recycling and discourage residents from putting so much waste in the residual waste bins.

The £3.4 million-figure reported by the council is more than double the targeted savings, while the amount of residual waste collected by the council fell from 54,923 tonnes in 2015 to 45,885 tonnes in 2016.

Over the course of the year food and garden waste tonnages have also risen, from 17,518 tonnes in 2015/16 to 18,872 in 2016/17.

The need to make savings arose in light of increased disposal costs for local authorities part of the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (GMWDA), who all share waste disposal costs through a waste disposal levy predicted to increase by 9.6 per cent to £41.29 million in 2018/19.

Bolton at loggerheads on success of slim bin scheme
Commenting on the reported figures, Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Cllr Nick Peel, said: “Our recycling rate has soared to more than 50 per cent over the last three months and we would like to thank residents for all their hard work in achieving this. Many residents that were not previously recycling are now taking part and food waste recycling has increased significantly.

“We are now working to ensure residents understand that more unusual items like foil, foil trays and empty aerosol cans can be recycled in the burgundy bin and liquid food cartons can be recycled in the beige bin.

“We are hoping we will hit our annual target of 47 per cent, and continue to drive savings and protect the environment as a result.”

Not plain sailing

Bolton’s attempts to increase its recycling rates and reduce the amount of residual waste arising have been noble but initially received opposition from residents.

Back in January 2017, after the council announced it had saved £1.4 million between June and December 2016 and that fly-tipping had fallen to 689.24 tonnes between April and December 2016 (down from 774.62 tonnes for the same period in 2015), a poll on The Bolton News website found that 94 per cent of readers did not believe the council’s figures.

Furthermore, also back in January, the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority (GMFRA) said that the slim bins had had a negative impact on the amount of fly-tipping in the area and increased incidents of arson by 30 per cent.

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