Council outlines the future for bin collections

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

BY April 2019, all householders across the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council area will be able to recycle their glass waste along with their blue bin waste.

So far, only residents in the Newry area have been taking part in this project which according to Adam Wilkinson; Interim Director of Regulatory and Technical Services, is a "very straightforward process".

Residents in the former Down District Council area have continued to not place glass recyclables in their blue bin but the project will see all householders across the district availing of this much needed service.

Back in June 2017, the RTS committee and full council were given options on the recycling of glass within blue bins. The committee decided on separating all the recyclable waste in the blue bin from glass and were going to embark upon a separate glass collection process. Which was very much in line with many of the other local authorities in Northern Ireland.

What was agreed was an option that looked at a particular vehicle which would facilitate collecting both glass and other recyclables.

In autumn a project group was set up including council workforce, Union representation as well as senior members of staff and they began to look at how this could be implemented.

Mr Wilkinson stated: "And in looking we were keen to revisit some of the options as we were conscious that things were changing. One of the biggest changes that we noted was the fee that we charged currently for one of our two contracts for blue bin, one contract for a blue bin with glass in Newry and one contract with typically no glass in, in Downpatrick. The contract for the bin with the glass in reduced in cost and within this contract the cost had decreased if the quality of the waste being received and disposed of by the contractor was of good quality".

He added: "Towards the end of last year, the costs started to come down to at least 10 a tonne. The reason for this we were told is that the quality coming from householders, in terms of what they're putting in their bin and what is separated at the facility is such good quality that the contractor themselves felt quite able to accept that the same quality would be maintained".

“In addition to this, we visited the site and watched the vehicles operating that had similar separating machinery and we took advice from organisations and felt it was appropriate to revisit the TEEP (Technical, Environmental and Economical Practicability). The legislation deciding whether we should collect recyclables separately or together is determined by TEEP".

“In December and January we independently commissioned a new TEEP to make sure it was as accurate as it could be in determining the percentage or proportion of waste coming from the blue bins in both Newry and Downpatrick. This allowed us to make a more accurate estimate of the costs when looking at options again between the blue bin and the glass".

“Before we set the button to go, we thought it was important to have the most up-to-date information available to present to members of the council, which is what happened last week".

The TEEP presentation highlighted a clear analysis of each of the four options and the cost of each.

Mr Wilkinson added: "What it demonstrated very clearly is that blue bins that continue to have glass within them are most efficient, economic and environmentally practical and the most cost effective way of collecting waste. This option was the most favourable".

He remarked that a "change in behaviour" will be required from residents in the former Down District Council area but no change will need implemented from Newry residents.

The report showed that nearly 30% of the contents of black bins in the Downpatrick area could have been recycled as glass.

And the TEEP report has led to the embarking of the rolling out of blue bins with glass allowed in them across the whole district.

However, there is no contract in place as of yet in terms of waste disposal and therefore the contract will need to be advertised with the securement of this determining when exactly the launch of the whole contract will commence across the district.

One of the key terms in this project for council will be education and communication; raising awareness of it and launching the campaign effectively.

Mr Wilkinson commented: "I would like to stress that in Newry, residents are to continue to put their glass into the blue bin along with other recyclables and in the former Down District Council area they are to continue for the time being, to not place glass in their blue bin".

He added: "We would expect at the very latest that this would be incorporated and implemented by 1 April 2019, if it can be achieved before this date we intend to do so. The benefit of the option chosen; 'Fully co-mingled kerbside collection' is that there is no additional outlay required."

“We know that it will take some time, once we begin to roll this out for residents to get used to the changes in their area but we believe it will be a very straightforward process".


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