Improving recycling in Blackburn and Darwen

Published Monday 16 September 2019 at 15:50

Did you know that sadly just 28% of waste produced in our borough is recycled?

The Council is working to help support residents to recycle more.

Martin Eden, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Director of Environment and Operations, said:

Unfortunately, like a number of other Councils, we’ve got a real problem with contaminated recycling bins, which is where non-recyclable items are wrongly placed in the recycling bin.

Our recycling rates have drastically fallen over the past eight years by almost half.

Austerity has had a very big impact on our recycling rates. We know most people do their best but we also know that recycling can be confusing for residents.

We are asking residents to check the Council’s A-Z of recycling to ensure they are not unintentionally contaminating the recycling bin as we are collecting a staggering 60 tonnes of contamination in the grey recycle bin each week.

This then makes it difficult to be separated and ultimately ends up in landfill which is really sad because it can be avoided.

The Council has to take this seriously, we want to increase recycling rates to 65% by 2030 and are currently working up a strategy and clear action plan to reduce waste and increase recycling rates.

We are already doing lots of preparation work across the Council and we know our residents will embrace this and help make it happen. Our aim is to become one of the best recycling borough’s in the country.

Key facts

  • The main items that are contaminating recycling in BwD are dirty nappies and food. These items need to go in the burgundy refuse bins
  • Clothes and textiles are another major issue as they need to be collected separately and left at the side of the bin in a separate bag.
  • Just 28% of waste produced in our borough is recycled
  • This is due to a number of factors, austerity having a huge impact on the amount of education and promotion we were able to do with limited resources and staff cuts
  • Simply putting the wrong type of plastics in your recycling bin can cut the value of a bale of recycled plastic from £150 to £10, and makes life difficult for the people we commission to sort our waste.
  • When a bin is contaminated our contractor leaves a sticker on the bin and we politely ask the householder to remove the contaminated items.
  • The bin can either wait to be collected on the following collection date for free, providing the contamination has been removed or people can now pay a subsided £7.50 for re-collection the following Wednesday. Non-recyclable items need to be put in the burgundy rubbish bin.
  • The Council has recently promoted an A-Z list of what can be recycled to help residents.  The full list can be found on the Council website.
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