25 September 2019

BCP council to extend commingling with glass

Recycling services for residents in the Christchurch area of Dorset look likely to move to a fully-commingled service when an arrangement with the Dorset council ends in April 2020.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) council is a unitary authority which came into existence through a merger of three councils in April this year (2019). It is due to take over the running of the Christchurch area waste and cleansing services from next April – services in the area will continue to be provided until then by Dorset.

Ahead of a Cabinet meeting on 30 September, BCP councillors are being recommended to approve plans for the provision of household waste and recycling collections from 1 April 2020 for the 23,780 households in Christchurch.

Two parts of BCP area already have a fully commingled service


As part of this change, officers are proposing a move towards a ‘simpler’ recycling collection system, which would see glass presented commingled with other dry recyclables in wheeled bins, in line with Bournemouth and Poole. Currently Christchurch residents have a wheeled bin collection for paper, plastics and cans, alongside a separate box for glass.

Councillors are being advised that collecting glass separately:

  • will cost more,
  • that wheeled bins are better compared to the health and safety implications of lifting boxes of glass for staff and residents
  • and that the commingled glass will be recycled in the UK, usually for use as an aggregate.
  • Foil and cartons can also be collected


This change would be aligned with the services offered in Bournemouth (89,000 households) and Poole (68,000 households), which have been in place since 2006. The council has also noted that the arrangements are “interim” ahead of a review of services in line with proposals in the government’s Resources and Waste Strategy.

According to the council, the wheeled bins offer a ‘simpler collection with fewer containers, less lifting and an enhanced recycling offer for Christchurch residents’.

It is also claimed that the option would require fewer vehicle movements, and a safer environment for staff, in light of recent studies on box collections and injuries to collection workers.

Councillor Felicity Rice, BCP’s portfolio holder for environment, said: “We have promised to harmonise services as soon as possible and it’s important we ensure a consistent approach is implemented to cleansing and waste services across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. These proposals offer an interim solution whilst we develop a new waste strategy for BCP council.”

Cllr Rice continued: “It’s important to make clear that residents in Christchurch will not see any change until 1 April 2020.  These proposals will mean minimal disruption for residents with the only change being that from 1 April 2020 residents would need to put their mixed recycling including glass in the recycling bin for fortnightly collection rather than sorting glass into the separate kerbside box. We will proactively engage with residents in Christchurch ahead of any changes next year.”


The authority has also calculated that a saving would be made if glass was collected separately of £122,000 (per annum based on current markets) but this would be diminished by the extra costs (£464,000 per annum) of collecting glass separately.

Viridor has the contract to sort recyclables at its Crayford MRF for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole council, with transfer facilities used at W&S Atkins

And, extra vehicle capital costs to BCP council for the Christchurch area are likely to be more than expected, the report to councillors notes. This is because the authority has received information from Dorset regarding narrow service provision needs and other factors, pushing cost estimates up to £1.48 million rather than £1.2 million.

Health and safety

The report also considers health and safety and notes: that “Comingled recycling collections provide a safer working environment for staff.”

It continues: “A recent study by University of Greenwich and Glasgow Caledonian University published by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH) advises that Local Authorities should discontinue ‘box type’ collections for waste and recycling as a matter of urgency, in favour of wheeled bins, on the grounds of the significantly increased musculoskeletal disorders found among workers on box, basket and sack collections.  There are also significant noise issues associated with separate glass collections for both residents and staff with the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) advising Councils should look to eliminate or reduce the risks from noise for separate glass by using alternate collection methodologies.” (see letsrecycle.com story)


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