13 March 2019 by Will Date

‘Recycling boost’ after Conwy four-weekly residual switch

Conwy county borough council in the north of Wales has claimed that a switch to four-weekly collections of residual waste has led to an 11% spike in the tonnage of recyclables collected during the final quarter of 2018.

The Welsh council approved a decision to roll-out four-weekly residual waste collections across the county following a trial involving over 10,000 households in 2017 (see letsrecycle.com story). Roll-out of the new system was phased in in to all 56,000 households by the end of September.

Kerbside sorting by Conwy recycling collection crews

The collection system sees dry recyclables collected weekly via a kerbside-sort system, using ‘Trolibocs’ stackable containers from MGB Straight – with separate containers for paper and card; plastic bottles, cartons and metal cans and tins; and glass bottles and jars. Food waste is also separately collected on a weekly basis.

Garden waste is collected on a fortnightly basis free of charge, although councillors are considering plans to implement a charge for this aspect of the service. Residents also have the option to present textiles and small electronics for fortnightly collection in purple and pink bags.

Residual waste

Wheeled bin residual waste collections are carried out every fourth week – having previously been picked up on a three-weekly cycle. Weekly collections are offered for households using a large amount of nappies or incontinence products.

According to the council, figures comparing the last three months of 2018 with the same period in 2017 show that household recycling has increased by 11.5% with an extra 363 tonnes recycled, while refuse has decreased by 457 tonnes, a 12% reduction.

The council said this would provide savings of around £390,000 a year, despite resident concerns.

Commenting on the changes, Cllr Donald Milne, cabinet member for environment, roads and facilities, said: “The response from the community has been excellent. Conwy residents are incredibly motivated to recycle. They know that there are local and global benefits to recycling as much as they can, and by making the most of the weekly collections, they are already making an impact. More items that would once have ended up in a landfill site are now being put to good use and food waste is used to create renewable electricity and fertiliser for local farmland.

“Conwy residents have really got behind the scheme.  It’s good to know that each household’s efforts have made a difference. The additional food waste has generated enough energy to boil a kettle in every home in Conwy 10 times. And plastic bottles, paper and tin cans have been turned into something useful instead of being buried in the ground.”

Welsh Government data shows that the council achieved a dry recycling rate of 30.3% from households in 2017/18, with around 22.8% of household waste composted. The figures stood at 29.8% household dry recycling and 21.7% composting in 2016/17.

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