A petition from residents in West Berkshire could force the local council to debate its plastics recycling policy.
Currently the only plastic recycled by West Berkshire council is plastic bottles. This policy applies to both kerbside services and recycling facilities at Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs).
But the petition has challenged the council to improve its low level of plastic recycling by collecting a wider range of plastic materials. It is hoped this would also end incineration of the plastics which have to be put in residual waste that is sent to an Energy from Waste (EfW) plant.
The petition currently has 1,745 signatures and counting. All petitions with over 1,500 signatures have to be debated by the full council, as long as council leaders agree that the issue is of “real significance locally” to the people of West Berkshire.
The author of the petition claims that the limited plastics recycling offered by West Berkshire has led to the public providing the service instead. Some residents have reportedly offered plastic collection points at their homes and then take carloads of the materials to a plastic recycling bank at a Sainsbury’s store in Reading.
The petition highlights the potential for the “significant issues” of storage, handling and health risks that these private collections could pose.
West Berkshire says it only collects plastic bottles for recycling as there is not enough demand from reprocessors for plastic pots, tubs and trays (PTT). It says this means they cannot guarantee they will be recycled, even they are collected for recycling.
West Berkshire’s waste services are contracted to Veolia. West Berkshire council is based in Newbury, the area’s main town, and the region has a population of just over 150,000.
Previously nearby councils had similar plastics policies in place, but many of these have now broadened out the materials they collect.
In February 2018 the re3 partnership – which covers nearby Bracknell Forest, Reading and Wokingham borough councils – announced it would begin collecting PTT at the kerbside having found new markets to buy and process the material (see letsreycle.com story). The re3 contract is provided by FCC Environment.
The petition will be open until 4 September.
West Berkshire council – Plastic Waste ePetition