Plans to end plastic recycling are a retrograde step

By Ben Fitzgerald - 24 October 2018

CommunityOpinion and FeaturesPolitics

A monthly column by Swindon Labour Group Leader Cllr Jim Grant

Plastics Recycling

The Conservatives on Swindon Borough Council have proposed ending all recycling collection of plastic. Residents will instead be forced to put plastics in the general waste bin. 

Labour councillors strongly object to this proposal. We think this is a terrible idea for four reasons: 

1. The Government’s recycling rate target is 50% by 2020. Some councils have already exceeded this target, however Swindon council’s current recycling rate has dropped by 10% over the last five years - from 48% to 38%. Scrapping plastic recycling collection would reduce Swindon’s recycling rate only further. 

2. There are only three local authorities in the country that currently do not collect plastics as a recycling product. Swindon would become the fourth against the overwhelming number of local councils that continue to collect recyclable plastics. 

3. Encouraging residents to put recyclable plastics in the general waste sends a mixed message to residents about the value of recycling. 

4. They will not be providing residents with more general waste bins to put the plastics in, so this will just lead to more queues at the waste and recycling centre and, most likely, more fly-tipping. 

The reality is that this is just another cost-cutting, austerity measure.

But their proposal is misguided as it is possible for the council to generate more income from plastics recycling if it tweaks the way in which it collects plastics.

We would urge the Conservative administration to drop this ill-thought-out, retrograde proposal.

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