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A councillor has called for more education to help residents avoid putting incorrect items in their recycling bins.

A new recycling guidance sticker on a blue bin

Lichfield District Council has recently issued new guidance urging people not to put waste in plastic bags inside their blue bins.

Cllr Steve Norman, leader of the Labour opposition group, said residents were not always aware of the issues caused by contaminated recycling.

Cllr Steve Norman

“Last year, Lichfield District Council was 135th in the league table with a recycling rate of 45% – it had previously been 50%.

“There needs to be more education so that people know somebody has to be paid to sort it all out otherwise it gets rejected.

“It’s not an easy thing to do, but if there can be more education about what is involved, people will understand better and perhaps treat their blue bins differently.

Cllr Steve Norman, Lichfield District Council

Cllr Tim Matthews, chairman of the leisure, parks and waste management overview and scrutiny committee, said the council was looking for ways to avoid having loads rejected when they reach the recycling plant.

“There have been some issue with rejections.

“I am aware that additional efforts have been made recently to explain to residents what we can and can’t recycle.

“We are making extra efforts and there are further plans to fine tune the information going out to the public.”

Cllr Tim Matthews, Lichfield District Council

The cabinet member for waste at the council, Cllr Richard Cox, said he feared some residents did not want to be educated about the issue.

“I think it’s something we’re conscious of trying to get right.

“But there will some people that actually don’t want to be educated.

“That is something that is questionable but they are allowed their opinions.”

Cllr Richard Cox, Lichfield District Council

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19 Comments

  1. If there was a standard UK list of what can be recycled then it would be simple. For example in Lichfield Tetra Packs can be in Wyre they can’t be and so on and so on so in the end sod it can’t be bothered

  2. I had a collection of recycling rejected because some on the item’s had fallen in a box. Was told all had to be single items. The blue bin is getting out of hand now. I am disabled and have limited hand and arm use. I can not break things down. I am more inclined to put my items in the black bin as it courses less issues and stress. The waste only gets shipped to other countries to be disposed off which isn’t fair.

  3. We need to know what can and what can’t be recycled. I wash everything however not sure really what should be in the blue bin. Mine is full when it needs emptying whereas the black bin is mostly empty. But I’m I really recycling properly. Don’t know.

  4. I put a piece of metal in my blue bin and it was removed, fair play to the Refuse Collectors as atleast they did empy the bin ….
    Surely metal is recyclable?

  5. Maybe some clear guidance on what does and does not go into the blue bin could be issued by the council
    At one time – when recyling was a fairly new thing – Lichfield was at the top of the country and leading the way for recycling. Things have clearly slipped, and we should have renewed efforts from local government to get this sorted (yes pun intended!)

  6. We had a blue bin not emptied because it was ‘contaminated’ with textiles. These used to be accepted but not now apparently. I was told they had to go in the black bin. Considering the number of charities that are keen to get textiles for fundraising, it does seem bizarre that the council is sending them to landfill.

  7. Some more precise guidance would be welcome – the faded and torn labels on my blue bin tell me nothing. So often the Council announces improvements, followed by silence.
    But then, cynics tell us that it all ends up in landfill, however well we sort it.

  8. ML – I assume you only live in one district but if you also live in Wyre Forest they can recycle Tetra Paks – but want you to cut the tops off first.
    Ben – your difficulty is an issue I would be happy to take up with the Council. If you put some waste into the black bin then at least it will be turned into energy at the Four Ashes Waste to Energy facility.
    Dennis and Davina – leaflets are delivered to every home each year but can be viewed on LDC’s website Lichfield Live wouldn’t want me to list them all here!
    Keith – best taken to the recycling/waste centre as everything is geared (and it can be amazingly sophisticated) for tins and the like.
    Pam – yes LDC recycled 0.25% in 1994. Your Labour councillors managed almost the then national target of 25% 4 years later and introduced kerbside recycling – the first in the County – and FREE brown bins before the Conservatives regained control in 1999.
    John – Textiles can be recycled/donated at the Recycling centre.
    Hans – only contaminated loads are rejected at the recycling plants – at great cost to the council taxpayer.
    However, It is unlikely that councils will be able carry one allowing all the recyclables being put into one bin in the near future – especially with China now banning certain waste imports.

  9. @Steve_Norman – I maybe wrong.

    Did I hear in one council meeting. The local recycling is actually transported to the North East, or London for sorting, by Biffa?

  10. Steve you need a geography lesson so that you can be a bit cleverer than you actually are. Wyre is a council next door to Fylde council in fact in some streets Wyre is at one end and Fylde the other. They both have different lists of things to be put in which bin. Wyre does not take Tetra packs, Please keep your comments to yourself until you are bright enough to have all the facts

  11. Good grief, Mike/ML. Does it really matter if whether it’s Wyre or Wyre Forest? When you’re trying to pretend you’re better than the guy who was the Leader of the Council when they increased their recycling rates from 0.25% to 25.0%, you need to come up with something a bit more impressive than sneering about a simple misunderstanding over place names.

    To answer your original point, one of the reasons that there’s no standard UK list of what can be recycled is because we don’t have a single, standard UK recycling service. We have lots of different waste management businesses competing against each other, and they don’t all offer exactly the same service. As such, the options open to all local authorities are not the same.

  12. …oh and just to add, I’ve never found myself getting especially confused about whether I should be using the Lichfield District, Wyre, or Wyre Forest District Council recycling list.

    I always assumed that as I live in Lichfield I should follow their one. Funny that…

  13. Wyre (Council – not Wyre Forest or Wyre Piddle) has a contract with Veola and they are planning to recycle Tetra Paks (not packs) in the future. Lichfield (District Council) currently has a contract with Biffa which does recycle Tetra Paks.

    At least the other “Steve” is NOT wrong. Our material used to be processed at Aldridge until a couple of years ago when Biffa decided to turn the plant into a facility that just sorts plastics and cans so yes, it is taken to Edmonton or Hartlepool.

  14. Asellus point one just because some one runs a council does not make them any cleverer than any one else.
    Point 2 a standard system would up recycling rates. I spend a lot of time in Wyre and Fylde and have to think can I or can’t I . There are some very simple people on the remarks page. Standardisation makes things better. That is why railway time was introduced and 12 in Lichfield was also 12 in Bristol

  15. Mike – I didn’t say Steve was cleverer than anyone else. I just think that you need to be called out if you think that just because you can cite some minor differences between two different local recycling schemes, you have the right to sneer at the intelligence of the person who was largely responsible for changing Lichfield District Council from a local authority that barely recycled, to one of the best in the country at that time.

    Back to the discussion, I’d be interested to hear your views on how you would introduce standardisation of recycling at a local level. Different localities have different waste management operators with different capabilities and capacities. Getting all of them to provide a universal offer would be extraordinarily difficult, and make innovation of new (local) recycling opportunities effectively impossible.

  16. Point 1: I’ve never run LDC.
    Point 2: BST (until Sunday) applies to every council and recycling facility in the UK – so must be some other reason for the differences perhaps?

  17. It would be very simple to have a standard system if the government willed it,in fact the government were considering it but it seems to have been pushed under tha carpet. As for exporting our waste to 3 rd world nations ( most goes to Malaysia) that is an absolute disgrace

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