Newcastle-under-Lyme plots further recycling overhaul

Newcastle-under-Lyme council will procure new vehicles and containers for changes to a “simplified” recycling system introduced in the borough two years ago – which has now been described as “too complicated”.

A revision to the council’s service – due to be introduced in spring 2020 – will see the number of collection receptacles reduced, including the introduction of wheeled bins for mixed recycling and split-body collection vehicles introduced in place of kerbside sort vehicles.

Newcastle-under-Lyme residents will present paper and card in a weighted bag in the future

The ‘simplified’ kerbside sort system was introduced in 2016, using three boxes for recyclables, in response to resident complaints about the number of receptacles recyclable materials had to be sorted between.

Prior to 2016, householders in the borough could place as many as nine separate bags or containers out for collection – including a green bag for cardboard, blue bag for paper, a red single-use bag for plastic bottles, and a blue box for cans and glass. Other receptacles included a wheeled black bin for refuse, a wheeled grey bin for green waste, a kitchen caddy for food waste and a bag for textiles.

But since changes to the system were made in 2016 residents have responded unfavourably to the service, prompting a review. This has led the council to favour a twin-stream collection system instead (see letsrecycle.com story).

A cross-party panel of councillors approved the streamlined service last year and Councillor Trevor Johnson – cabinet member for environment and recycling – says it’s now “full steam ahead” with the planned revisions, which are due to cost around £3 million.

“Our consultation with residents was one of the biggest we have ever undertaken here at the council and the overwhelming result was that they wanted change.”

Cllr Trevor Johnson, Newcastle-under-Lyme council

Cllr Johnson explained: “Our consultation with residents was one of the biggest we have ever undertaken here at the council and the overwhelming result was that they wanted change.

“We are now getting on and putting all the foundations in place to deliver on that in the spring next year,” he added.


Under the new service a wheeled bin will be used for glass, cans and plastic, a weighted bag provided for paper and card, and a caddy offered for food waste.

A report presented to the Newcastle-under-Lyme cabinet yesterday (4 September) notes that this twin-stream system will allow the local authority to make more money from the recyclate they collect.

It states: “Keeping paper and card (fibre) separate from the other materials maximises the value of material, and means collected fibre can be sold directly to paper and card mills in the UK.”

Food waste will be collected weekly with residual and recyclable waste collected fortnightly on alternate weeks. The new service will allow more plastics to be recycled – including pots, tubs and trays.

Under the current system metal and plastic are collected in a red box and glass and cardboard are placed in a green box. Paper, small appliances and textiles go into a blue box, a caddy is provided for food waste and a wheeled bin is used for residual waste. A wheeled garden waste bin is available for those who subscribe to the service.


The council said it will be using split-body vehicles for the new service, changing from the fleet of kerbside sort vehicles which are used currently.

Kerbside sort collection vehicles which are currently used for Newcastle-under-Lyme’s kerbside collections – the council is seeking to use split-body vehicles for the new service

Tests of the new vehicles so far have improved collection times, the council says, particularly on narrower roads or in places where cars park on both sides of the road. Collection speeds have jumped to 23 seconds per property from 55 seconds per property.

Procurement has already begun for the new fleet of vehicles which will operate the service – this will consist of at least seven split body RCVs and seven food waste vehicles.

In trials of commingled dry recycling, material has been taken to Stoke-on-Trent’s bulking station, then on to MRF facilities at Aldridge which are run by Biffa.

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