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Recycling collections could see changes according to Suffolk Waste Partnership

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Kerbside recycling collections in Suffolk could include glass and food waste in the next five years, as authorities begin looking at the logistics of new government legislation.

The Environment Bill was passed in central Government in November which the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) says will end the postcode lottery of bin collections, and aims to “ensure councils operate weekly separate food waste collections, preventing food waste from going to landfill or being incinerated”.

Councils are waiting for the details, but Suffolk waste bosses said there was a ‘strong indication’ from Westminster that kerbside food waste and glass collections will be introduced in the next three-to-five years.

James Mallinder, Conservative councillor for Deben and cabinet member for the environment. Picture: East Suffolk Council.
James Mallinder, Conservative councillor for Deben and cabinet member for the environment. Picture: East Suffolk Council.

Free garden waste collections have also emerged as an idea.

The Suffolk Waste Partnership collective has begun discussions on ideas while waiting for more details, but a report to East Suffolk Council’s cabinet next week from the authority’s environment task group, said it “is expected to have a fundamental impact on the delivery of services and the council’s resources to achieve this”.

Early research by the waste partnership has indicated possibilities could be around co-mingled dry recycling waste with a separate glass collection system, or an alternate weekly collection keeping glass, paper and card, plastics and metal separate.

James Mallinder, chairman of Suffolk Waste Partnership and Conservative cabinet member for the environment at East Suffolk Council, said: “We have not seen the detail of this but the strong indication we are getting from Westminster is mandatory glass collections, food waste and possibly free garden waste.

“We are really excited because the bill is to homogenise waste collection across the UK.”

He added: “This is one of the biggest changes in the services of the local authority you are going to see in a lifetime. Bins are very emotive for people it’s one of the main interactions people have with their council.

“We will all be working together to make sure we have the most efficient, cost-effective system to meet the requirements not only for the environment but also our residents.”

Cllr Mallinder said he hoped it would also address some of the problems around contaminated loads which are seen frequently locally.

Currently around 20 per cent of recycling waste is contaminated by wrong items which means the load has to be rejected. The main contaminants are glass, used nappies and food waste.

However, question marks remain over the resources needed. It is not yet clear if any potential changes will require new refuse trucks, bins or processing measures. Cllr Mallinder said it would likely need a three-to-five year timeframe for preparation.

In the meantime, Suffolk households can make a big difference as their new year’s resolution by ensuring they don’t put glass, food waste or nappies in their recycling bin.

To find out more about what can and can’t be recycled, visit www.suffolkrecycling.org.uk/a-z-of-recycling