York’s recycling system ‘is garbage and should be binned’

York recycling boxes. Photograph: YorkMix

Recycling and bin collections in York need to be completely overhauled, according to one councillor who said the service is “garbage”.

At a City of York Council meeting on Monday (December 10), Cllr Mark Warters reiterated his comments to YorkMix last month about the state of waste removal in the city.

The Independent member for Osbaldwick and Derwent called the council’s recycling rates are “pathetic” and residents should be able to put all their reusable waste into one blue bin instead of having to sort it into different boxes.

He said the council should be more like its neighbour East Riding of Yorkshire Council – which was named as the local authority which recycled the most waste in 2016 to 2017.

City of York Council was in 191st place.

A complete overhaul

Speaking at a council meeting on Monday, Cllr Warters said: “We need to completely overhaul the council’s waste collection methods – they are garbage.

“Expecting residents to sort recycling into silly boxes is logistical lunacy.

“Our recycling rates are pathetic. The current system should be binned. Do you not want to increase recycling rates in York?”

Cllr Mark Warters wants a single wheelie bin to replace the three boxes

Cllr Warters was criticised for calling climate change a “hysterical left-wing religion” at a meeting in October.

But he said he is keen for the council to tackle environmental issues closer to home.

He added: “It’s all well engaging in virtue signalling over fracking. We need an easy to use, efficient waste collection system.”

Million-pound pricetag

But it would cost the council an extra £1 million if residents put all their recycling in the same bin, according to a council officer.

He said: “If we co-mingled the cost would be about £1 million more expensive. There would be additional costs for processing.

“The amount you pay to dispose of that product is significantly higher and the amount you get back is less.”

He added that some items are sent abroad for recycling and are at the “whim of international markets”.

Cllr Andrew Waller, executive member for the environment, said the council should also feel some ethical responsibility for what happens to its recycled waste.

He said: “We do bear a responsibility for what happens – where does it end up? If it is sent to the Far East then where do they send it on to?”

The council spends £47.07 per household each year on waste collection compared to the national average spend of £64.43.

Cllr Waller said the authority needs to look at expanding the range of plastics it accepts for recycling but said black plastic food trays should be banned because they cannot be recycled.