Big reduction in ‘dirty’ recycling in Blackburn with Darwen

Published Tuesday 15 December 2020 at 12:44

A new report has revealed how the introduction of the new blue bin for recycling in Blackburn with Darwen is already helping significantly drive down contamination rates in the borough.

Figures show that the contamination rates – when recycling is mixed with items that should be in the burgundy bin with general waste – have fallen from 35% to around 12%. That’s almost two thirds!

It comes after the summer roll out of the new blue bins for clean paper and cardboard.

The new bins are part of a concerted effort by Blackburn with Darwen Council to increase recycling rates in the borough – which are currently some of the lowest in the country at 30% – while also improving the quality of recycling.

Councillor Jim Smith, the Council’s Executive Member for Environment, said:

This is fantastic news and really positive progress.

I’d like to say a big thank you to our residents who are really helping to make a difference.

As a council, we are committed to increasing recycling rates and we have set ourselves a target of recycling 50% of all the waste we collect by 2025.

We can’t make the change alone and so we’ve listened to what residents have told us about how they sometimes found recycling confusing and we’ve looked at ways we can make it easier.

This has included writing out with new ‘what goes where?’ guides, launching the new Recycle BwD website with helpful hints and tips on and re-stickering all of the grey bins to help residents know what goes in each bin.

We want to do everything we possibly can to make recycling easier to help us improve those recycling rates and the quality of the recycling we collect.

A report to the Council’s Place Overview and Scrutiny Committee told of how the waste collections had continued to run as normal during the pandemic thanks to the efforts of staff.

The report said that the recycling rates hadn’t yet been confirmed since the roll out of the new bin. It’s also expected to be difficult to compare to previous years due to the amount of extra waste being collected with more people being home.

They will be published in full as part of future reports.

The roll-out of the blue bin, which would normally take around 18 months, was also completed in just seven months in a bid to help save up to £70,000 a month.

Councillor Smith added:

We know this has been a difficult year but the whole Environment Team has worked really hard to ensure residents received the very best service possible.

We now have staff out delivering a new festive leaflet with useful info for over the festive period and we’ve launched a new, online recycling game too with £1,000 of cash prizes up for grabs.

We are determined to make a change and these new figures are really encouraging.

We know though that we still have a long way to go and there’s a lot of hard work ahead of us.

We’ll keep looking at what’s worked, what hasn’t and what more we can be doing – we want to get this right.

The fun, festive, recycling game can be played at:

On the new website, residents can find a Christmas A-Z for recycling as well as guides to what goes in each bin.

There’s also a new section for residents who use bulky bins and sacks.

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