AT LAST, there seems to be some sense coming
into the "wheelie bins" method of waste disposal and recycling. And it's
only taken about eight years! (I am basing that figure on some old
calendar labels still adhering to the original bins).
Part of the rethink means
that Cheshire East Council can now accept items that were previously
banned (on pain of nationally imposed fines - although, to be fair,
Crewe and Nantwich and now Cheshire East borough councils never used
that sanction as far as I know). And the change means one fewer bin
- now only three - as the last to be introduced, the smaller, green
recycling bin for paper (right), is now no longer deemed necessary.
Newspapers and magazines, etc, can now be put in the grey/silver
Also now acceptable are glass, "mixed plastics" and film
wrap (the material that magazines, etc, are delivered in, I presume). Glass
could not be put in any of
the bins previously in case it shattered - I am not sure why it is be all
right now, especially as the leaflet sent to residents says items should
be placed in the bin individually. I would have put the glass in a
plastic bag or two to try to keep it intact. But recyclers don't like
items in bags - except shredded paper, presumably to stop it blowing
everywhere on collection day.
In removing the green bin, Cheshire East
thinking of people struggling to accommodate four wheelie bins,
particularly in homes with small outdoor spaces. Oh, no. According to a
press release sent out at the start of February, the idea is to "further
boost Cheshire East's prolific recycling rate and save money.
"Cheshire East had a recycling
rate of 49.46% in 2009/2010, which is said to be the highest in the
North West and almost 10% higher than the national average. However,
Cheshire East's landfill tax for 2010/2011 is £3.5million - a figure
that will go to £4.2million unless more waste is recycled. The changes
are meant to achieve the increased recycling.
Residents who cannot
accommodate three wheelie bins are assured that they can have
council-approved sacks and 55-litre boxes instead.
Collection of the three
remaining bins will be on "an alternative weekly schedule". In
the first week of the revised scheme, the "other" bin was emptied.
"Other" means not the garden waste bin (brown) nor the recycling
(grey/silver) bin. These two are emptied at the same time on the
Presumably the two-wagon system currently
operated will still apply. Garden waste has to be kept separate because
it is turned into useful compost - for farmer and large gardens, I
As well as a calendar, a
special envelope from Cheshire East Council also contained special
sticky-back labels that householders could stick on to the appropriate bin
which, basically, says what can be put into the bin. There is also a
small blank space for the writing of the house number so that you get
your own bin back.
Nothing was mentioned previously
about labels on tins - I always carefully took them off - but now the
leaflet says they can be left on, although there is a request for tins
to be squashed "if possible" but not flattened.
A new commodity to be accepted
now is - as I said - glass bottles and jars. But ceramics "such as mugs,
vases and crockery" can only be disposed of at the local Household Waste
A long list of acceptable
plastic items now includes
"empty plastic bags, carrier bags and film".
Actually, I "recycle" supermarket bags as bin liners for my general
household waste which keeps together all sorts of items that I am sure
the council will not wish me to tip loose into the black bin. But there
is still a ban on plastics "such as polystyrene, plant pots and hard
ridged plastics". I have always felt this to be strange when the people
who make the items put a number on them saying which type of plastic
they are so why doesn't someone find a way of recycling them?
There is a similar long
list for acceptable paper items, including envelopes (now no longer
banned because of the glue on the flap), egg boxes, waxed paper tea or
coffee cups, and drinks cartons.
Aluminium foils and clean
foil trays are now also approved.
One anomaly that goes in
the change of recycling is that bottle tops can now be accepted. But as
well as a sensible suggestion that plastic bottles are squashed -
presumably to take up less space in the wagon - there is a request for
the bottle tops to be replaced "where possible" - presumably to stop the
bottle resuming its original shape as air gets into it. As a different
plastic, and usually of a different colour, I would have thought they were best
recycled separately. But there you go.
I am happy that I can now
recycle my shredded paper - as long as it goes in a plastic bag to keep
it all together. I did this previously but then had to put it in the
non-recycling bin because there seemed to be a reluctance to untie the
bags to retrieve the paper. Now it can go in the recycling bin.
THE reason behind all these "sense at last"
moves is that, according to the leaflet, the recycled materials are
taken to a plant operated by UPM at Shotton (North Wales) where there is a new
Materials Recovery Facility. There the waste is sorted into different
materials manually and automatically.
wheelie bins were introduced in 2003/4 by Crewe and Nantwich Borough
Council, predecessor of Cheshire East Borough Council. See