Households across North East Lincolnshire could be close to breaking the record for the amount of recycling collected here in the area a month.
North East Lincolnshire Council’s waste crews are facing huge volumes of recycling and household rubbish as they deal with the post-Christmas waste mountain.
Extra staff were taken on before Christmas, all annual leave was cancelled and some staff have been working Saturdays to help collect the massive amount of recycling households have presented. There has been little impact on general household waste collections since Christmas but recycling collections are about a day and a half behind schedule.
A staggering 899 tonnes of dry recycling has been picked up in the four weeks from 17 December to 11 January, 177 tonnes more than in November. At the same time, 2,992 tonnes of general household waste has been collected. Last January a total of 1,034.13 tonnes of dry recycling was collected from homes and the area’s bring to sites. While people are understandably frustrated when the Council doesn’t empty their recycling boxes on time, the Council is working hard to collect an unprecedented amount of paper, card, plastic bottles, cans and glass.
Bin lorries can only hold so much waste and once full they have to travel to a depot near Immingham to empty the recycling – a round trip that can take about an hour depending on the round. It helps enormously if people flatten boxes and squash plastic bottles to save space.
Councillor Matt Patrick, portfolio holder for Environment, Transport and Energy, said: “I’d like to say sorry to everyone who has been affected by the delays to our recycling rounds.
“We did expect a lot more waste and recycling during Christmas and New Year and put plans in place to deal with it, but the amount of recycling people want to get rid of has exceeded all our expectations.
“It shows people care about recycling and protecting the environment. I’m grateful to all households who are doing their best to recycle as much as they can and to our waste crews for the hard work they’re putting in.
“We haven’t put limits on the amount of recycling we will collect, as some councils have done, but taking everything that’s presented means it takes longer to collect and the wagons fill up quicker – which ultimately leads to delays. It’s a balancing act between the amount taken and the speed of collections.”
Cllr Patrick added: “Recycling rates have gone up considerably in the past year – from 31 per cent to 39 per cent. Soon we’re starting a new pilot scheme using bigger and better containers, it’s clear to me that the three box system has had its day, and I want to work with residents to create a new recycling system fit for purpose.”
Councillor Steve Beasant, chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, said: “Councils up and down the country have been faced with huge amounts of rubbish and recycling during Christmas and New Year.
“We appreciate the effort people are putting in when it comes to recycling and I can only apologise for any disruption caused by the delays to the collections. Even with more staff and more rounds, the amount of recycling people wanted us to take the past few weeks has been astounding.
“Our bin crews have worked exceptionally hard and it’s not fair for them to be subjected to some of the abuse they’ve had the past few weeks. They have almost caught up now and the service should be back to usual next week.”
The Council has also had to work hard clearing and emptying recycling banks at the area’s ‘bring to’ recycling sites. They are located in convenient places for people to recycle reasonable amounts of cans, glass, paper and plastic, but the sites are abused with people dumping all kinds of other rubbish.
It is totally unacceptable to leave waste piled up outside the recycling banks – it’s fly-tipping and a number of the sites are now covered by CCTV. If the recycling banks are full or if people have a lot of waste to recycle, it should be taken to one of the Community Recycling Centres in Estuary Way, Grimsby, or Queens Road, Immingham.