EXCLUSIVE: Local authorities across the UK are closing recycling bring banks because of fly-tipping and misuse by businesses.
The closure of the sites is also seen as a way to save money, with most of the materials taken at the sites now collected in kerbside collections.
Bring banks are provided by local authorities in public spaces and allow for materials such as glass, cardboard, cartons and cans to be recycled. Some sites also have banks for harder to recycle items such as textiles and small electrical equipment.
The banks are only intended for household waste and are not for the use of businesses, which should arrange for their waste to be collected by licenced waste collection companies.
Waste is often left adjacent to the bins at bring banks – this is deemed to be fly-tipping.
Chiltern district council closed five bring banks on August 5 and changed the service provided at an additional three, which will now only accept domestic paper and cardboard.
Cllr Caroline Jones – cabinet member for environment at Chiltern district council – said the service was being updated to meet the needs of residents, but also noted how the bring banks were misused.
She explained: “This decision has been taken following discussion with local councillors and residents and visits to the recycling sites to assess how they are currently used.
“Unfortunately fly-tipping, misuse of the facilities and anti-social behaviour are all problems which have been experienced at the sites.”
On August 1 Hart district council announced it had closed its cardboard bring bank facilities for a 12 month trial period.
“Users opted to leave large amounts of cardboard next to the banks rather than break it up and put it in the banks, making a mess and encouraging further flytipping.”
A spokesperson said: “This decision followed an ongoing problem with banks being misused. Users opted to leave large amounts of cardboard next to the banks rather than break it up and put it in the banks, making a mess and encouraging further flytipping.”
Continued provision of the bins was set to cost £12,000, compared to savings of £500 to £1,000 if the banks were removed and the materials were collected at the kerbside.
The cabinet also noted that nearby Test Valley council was looking to remove its paper and cardboard bring sites “imminently”.
Despite criticism of its plans, Shropshire county council has claimed its removal of bring banks has been successful.
It phased out 120 bring banks in May, claiming this would save £237,000 a year. (see letsrecycle.com story)
Like other local authorities, Shropshire said the facilities – which were provided through a contract with Veolia – faced problems with fly-tipping and the use of the sites by traders, who should arrange their own waste collections.
Paul Beard, contracts manager (waste management) at Shropshire county council, said the council had no definitive statistics on fly-tipping at bring sites, but believed that the 10 worst affected banks had needed to have fly-tipped waste collected at least twice per week. This resulted in at least 20 clean ups every week across the county.
With the removal of the banks Mr Beard believed fly-tipping incidents at the sites had dropped.
He said: “In the ten weeks since the end of May, Veolia have had to remove a total 16 fly-tips from the old Bring Bank sites, so an average of less than two per week, and this figure is still falling as residents get used to the change.”
A number of other councils have also removed bring banks in the past year, including Doncaster and the Isle of Wight, while Leicester city council have held a consultation on the provision of the facilities.