Brighton and Hove city council has launched a study into the feasibility of introducing a kerbside collection of pots, tubs and trays (PTT), which will assess the carbon and cost impacts of upgrading facilities.
The Green Party-run council’s in-house waste and recycling company, Cityclean, currently collects plastic bottles from the kerbside, including drinks containers, kitchen and bathroom products and milk bottles.
However, the council said that many residents feel PTT should be included.
For this reason, the council says it is carrying out an “in-depth” feasibility study, taking a number of factors into consideration.
This includes the £750,000 cost of converting Veolia’s Hollingdean Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) to take PTT, plus another £80,000 a year in running costs.
It is also assessing the carbon impact of the construction works this would entail, and also sorting the material at the MRF rather than sending it to the Newhaven-based energy from waste (EfW) plant.
Councillor Any Heley, chair of the council’s environment, transport and sustainability committee, said: “We know
“Through this feasibility study we will ensure we have all the information we need to explore how this might work”
that many residents have raised that they want to be able to recycle more types of plastics. Through this feasibility study we will ensure we have all the information we need to explore how this might work and the impact it will have.”
Councillor Gary Wilkinson, opposition lead spokesperson for environment, transport and sustainability, added: “It is only right that we listen to our residents on this. Over half of all plastic collected in the UK ends up being disposed of rather than recycled. Through looking to increase the range of plastics that we can collect for recycling we will increase our recycling rate and cut the contamination of other recycling.”
The move from Brighton & Hove city council comes as the government is set to launch its second round consultations on a standard set of materials all councils will have to collect.
In its first consultation in 2019, the government said its preferred option would include PTT plastic. The second is due imminently.
In this consultation, it is expected that Defra will outline “transition timelines” for councils, in order for them to make any changes.
‘Very difficult to recycle’
The council said that it currently does not collect PTT-type plastic for a number of reasons including its low quality, which makes it “very difficult to recycle”. It added costs to the taxpayer is also a factor.
The council estimates that around 70% of PTTs collected would not be recyclable, and the material that it can recycle would only increase its recycling rate by 0.5%. Brighton and Hove’s recycling rate currently stands at close to 30%.
There are also concerns that accepting PTTs could contaminate the other clean, high-quality material Cityclean collects.
Concerns around exports are also considered in the study, with the council claiming that if it starts to collect PTT, it “wouldn’t know where they end up as there is no market for them in the UK”.
Despite this, the council argues that there are “grounds” for collecting PTT, including that even though the council “continually communicates” that it doesn’t collect PTT, residents still put them in recycling bins.
It is also thought that recycling PTTs would reduce contamination.