Manchester recycling campaign aims to help residents recycle smarter

Manchester recycling campaign aims to help residents recycle smarter

A new campaign launched by Manchester and Salford Council aims to reduce the number of wrong items in the household car and paper recycling bins.

The Recycle for Manchester campaign says that people in Manchester are confused about what can be recycled. Households in Manchester and Salford are issued with blue bins that should only have card and paper put in them, but many households are putting incorrect items into the bins. Council recycling centres have seen dirty nappies, electrical items, food, plastic bags and polystyrene packing in the bins. This wastes time and money, and makes the recycling process inefficient.

Plastic is the highest proportion of non-card and paper waster found in the blue bins. Electronic items have be spotted too, many of which could have gone to an IT recycling company in Manchester.

At the Sharston recycle depot, between April and July 2018, 343.88 tonnes of collected recycling waste was rejected, which is a huge increase from the 195.86 tonnes in the same period of 2017. This figure includes material other than card and paper recycling, but indicates the scale of the problem.

The new campaign encourages residents to think hard about what they are putting in their recycling bins. Leaflets are being sent out to every home in the area. The campaign will be present at many community and business events to broadcast the message. Stickers are being placed on the blue bins left out to remind people what they can and cannot put into the bins.

The leader of Greater Manchester’s Green City, Alex Ganotis, said:

“Contamination in Greater Manchester’s paper and card recycling bins has always been a problem, but recently we’re facing increasing challenges. In January, tough new quality standards in the paper and card recycling market were introduced, and these mean that we have to collect as much clean paper and card as possible. Unfortunately, we are finding too many wrong items and lorry loads of recycling are getting rejected time and time again.”

People are urged to make sure that cardboard boxes are empty of polystyrene and any other non-cardboard packing before being put in the recycle bin. The main items that should go into the bins are magazines, newspapers, cardboard boxes, paper wrapping paper, envelopes and junk mail.

Perhaps one way forward to make sure that people recycle correctly is to pay them, and Tesco is trialling such a scheme in its Manchester stores. The supermarket giant has installed bottle recycling machines that automatically pay people for returning bottles.

Tesco is also piloting a scheme for customers to reuse their plastic containers that hold cheese, meat and fresh fish purchased at the deli counter. New purchases will be packed in paper ready to be placed in the customer’s recycled plastic containers.

The Tesco scheme is not dealing with paper and card waste. It is not clear whether paying for card and paper recycling makes financial sense other than for business users who recycle large quantities. Card and paper relying may remain a voluntary process, but must still be done the correct way.

With e-waste a growing concern too, and cyber security issues regularly in the news, there can be little doubt that education on computer recycling could be of benefit in major UK cities like Manchester and Glasgow.