Image demonstrating An opportunity too good to waste

An opportunity too good to waste

Ambitious plans to recycle more than 50% of its household waste have been put forward by Northumberland County Council.

As part of a long-term review of its waste strategy the council is to carry out a detailed study into the potential to undertake kerbside glass collections, pots tubs and trays and also food waste.

The Council currently sends non-recyclable waste to a special ‘Energy from Waste’ facility where it is burned to generate electricity for supply to the National Grid. This has helped to significantly reduce the Council’s reliance on landfill disposal, with under 15% of all household and commercial waste being disposed of to landfill last year.

However, the amount of household waste being reused, recycled or composted by the Council has plateaued in recent years, dropping slightly to just over 36% in 2017/18.

The authority is keen to progress improvements in its waste recycling services and is set to agree detailed studies into four weekly glass collections, with the option of introducing plastic pots, tubs and trays, as well as food waste collections at a later date so that at least a 50% recycling rate is achieved.

While initial research undertaken to support improvements in recycling services has so far been provided free to the council, the Cabinet is being asked to commit £14,000 towards a more detailed £35,000 study over the coming months.

Councillor Glen Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Environment and Local Services, said: “Getting better at what we recycle isn’t just a local or national issue, it’s global and we all have our part to play.

“Our current waste strategy comes to an end next year and as the waste management landscape has changed dramatically over recent years we need to move with the times to respond and adapt to current and impending changes.

“As well as looking into glass and food collections we’ll also be leading by example by cutting our own paper consumption and improving paper recycling, as well as removing the use of single-use plastics where possible.

“If funding is approved by Cabinet we hope more detailed modelling will confirm that a relatively low-cost investment in separate glass collections would help improve recycling performance and offer good value for money.

“I’m also looking forward to meeting up with my opposite numbers in the new Combined Authority to discuss possible joint working in the future waste strategy.”

The strategy will be discussed by the council’s Cabinet next month.
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