York council wants us to recycle more. But not extra plastics or food waste
The council wants residents to recycle more and is considering giving out different recycling boxes, increasing garden waste collections and expanding the range of materials residents can recycle to make that happen.
An education programme to encourage people to recycle more could also be introduced.
But the review will not consider allowing residents to mix their recycling, rolling out food waste collections or expanding the range of plastics the council collects.
York’s recycling rate has remained steady since 2017, at about 43.6 per cent of household waste sent to be composted, recycled or reused.
Robert Gordon of York Green Party told a City of York Council meeting that it should consider adding textiles, Tetrapak containers, batteries and small electrical items to the kerbside collections. He said the review “encourages more waiting”.
Green Party councillor Rosie Baker said she was “really pleased” that a review would take place and that electric bin lorries have been bought.
But she added: “I would actually encourage officers to look into more of the benefits of separate collections for food waste and do more feasibility on increasing the range of recyclables and yes, please extend green bin collections to inner city wards where there is need and people have asked for it.”
£2.5m food waste bill
The meeting heard that food waste collections elsewhere in the country have had low participation levels and would require weekly collections, which could prove costly.
James Gilchrist, the council’s assistant director of environment, said food waste is already converted to energy through an anaerobic digester at Allerton Park.
The Government is also looking at national programmes for food waste collection and a deposit scheme for plastics and Mr Gilchrist advised that the council should wait for the outcome of these plans.
Cllr Paula Widdowson added that a food waste collection would cost York taxpayers around £2.5 million and Government could look to fund the programme, meaning it would be better to wait than make residents pay.
Recycling will not be mixed because it cannot be recycled locally if it is all combined, it lowers the sale price of the recycled matter and there have been cases where mixed recycling has been shipped around the world illegally, according to a council report.
Mr Gilchrist said recycling is sometimes mixed on bin rounds when specialist vehicles have broken down but it is later separated.
Councillors will discuss options to increase recycling rates at a future meeting and residents will be invited to have their say.