Copeland to replace recycling boxes with bins

Copeland borough council is to introduce a change to its recycling collections from October which will see boxes replaced with wheeled bins with different coloured lids.

Copeland residents will now use a red-lidded bin for glass, plastic and metal and a blue-lidded bin for paper and cardboard (picture: Copeland borough council)

The Cumbrian council said it was taking the step in a bid “to make recycling as easy as possible”, with the change from segregated collections meaning residents have to do less sorting.

The previous system of three boxes and a bag will be replaced with a twin-stream system using two one-metre-high wheeled bins with different coloured lids.

A blue-lidded bin will replace Copeland residents’ blue paper box and cardboard recycling bag. They will also receive a red-lidded bin for glass, plastic and metal. This replaces the black box residents used for metal and plastic and the green box they used for glass.

The local authority said the change meant there would be “extra room” for recyclables, while the “more weather-resistant” lids would prevent litter from being blown into the street.

The authority is home to the Defra minister and Copeland MP Trudy Harrison, who was appointed to her role last week after Liz Truss became prime minister (see story). Speculation abounds that she will have resources and waste management in her brief, although this is yet to be confirmed.

The new bins will be delivered from October to December and people can start using them as soon as they receive them, Copeland said.


Copeland borough council reassured residents that “all waste will still be recycled in the correct way”, adding that properties without enough space for two extra bins would be contacted to organise an alternative.

The local authority is home to Defra minister Trudy Harrison

When the changes were announced in April, Cllr Andy Pratt, Copeland’s portfolio holder for recycling and waste collection, said: “This will deliver a more effective and efficient recycling service.

“A lot of hard work has gone into preparing a new procedure and I look forward to seeing it take shape.”


The decision to switch to bins was taken in September last year. Then, the council reviewed its recycling service partly due to an increase in recycling, particularly cardboard, which was linked to the lockdown period when more people were working from home and shopping online.

The council carries out its collections in-house, with the recycling sent to the Cumbria Waste Group’s Hespin Wood site.

To help inform Copeland’s decision to switch to the bins, the Cumbria Waste Group pointed out that biggest issues around quality appear when all commodities are mixed together as dry mixed recycling, while “mixed card and paper is a good quality material when collected separately from containers.”

While Copeland will now mix glass, plastic and metal, they will continue to separate paper and card.

With a population of approximately 70,000, Copeland borough council’s recycling rate was 34.2% in the financial year 2020/21.

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