Manchester’s slim bins prompt ‘major boost’ to recycling

Manchester’s recycling rate is set to hit 40 per cent next year, according to the city’s council, which is having to create a new collection calendar following a ‘major boost’ to recycling.

The city’s recycling rate has risen from just under 32 per cent in 2015/16 to a projected 40 per cent at the end of the current 2017/18 year, an increase precipitated by a move to a ‘slim bin’ system in August 2016.

Manchester’s slim bins prompt ‘major boost’ to recycling
The city’s 240-litre bins were replaced with smaller 140-litre containers with a ‘robust approach’ taken to side waste and open lids to enforce residual restriction during fortnightly collections.

High residual waste disposal costs for the nine councils involved in a private finance initiative (PFI) contract between the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (GMWDA) and Viridor Laing meant that each has taken steps to restrict the amount of residual waste that residents can put out for collection, either through slimmer bins or three-weekly collections.

The financial pressures imposed by the PFI saw the GMWDA terminate the £3-billion, 25-year contract in May.

Manchester City Council, which serves around 550,000 residents, the fifth largest council area in the UK, says that the increase in recycling rates will have helped the city to avoid more than £7 million in waste disposal costs by the autumn, with even higher annual savings possible in future, if the recycling rate can be improved further.

And it is also telling residents that now less waste is being put in its grey residual waste bins, it is having to change collection rounds so that the increased amount of recycling can be collected more efficiently.

The move won’t see any change in frequency, but many homes will now have a different day for recycling collection so that the greater yield of recyclables can be better collected. Currently, the council uses two recycling boxes, brown and blue, to collect glass, plastic and metals, and cardboard and paper respectively, as well as a food waste collection.

Residual waste and recycling are collected on alternate weeks, but while general waste is restricted to one bin, residents can leave as much recycling as they wish for collection.

The council’s Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, Councillor Nigel Murphy, said: “I want to thank all Manchester's residents for their efforts to recycle more. There’s always more that we can do as a city to push our recycling rates higher, but by working together, we are already on course to avoid £7 million in needless waste disposal costs.

“Residents' recycling efforts have made such a big difference that we now have to update our collection patterns, to make sure that all the extra recycling is collected efficiently.

“I’d like to reassure residents that there will be no change to the frequency of their collections - and that measures are in place to minimise any inconvenience as we move to the new pattern.”

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