A Letter from Nantwich update

Updated May 2011

Changes in the recycling bins set-up

AT LAST, there seems to be some sense coming into the "wheelie bins" method of waste disposal and recycling. And it's only taken about eight years! (I am basing that figure on some old calendar labels still adhering to the original bins).

    Part of the rethink means that Cheshire East Council can now accept items that were previously banned (on pain of nationally imposed fines - although, to be fair, Crewe and Nantwich and now Cheshire East borough councils never used that sanction as far as I know). And the change means one fewer bin - now only three - as the last to be introduced, the smaller, green recycling bin for paper (right), is now no longer deemed necessary. Newspapers and magazines, etc, can now be put in the grey/silver recycling bin.

   Also now acceptable are glass, "mixed plastics" and film wrap (the material that magazines, etc, are delivered in, I presume). Glass could not be put in any of the bins previously in case is shattered - I am not sure why it is be all right now, especially as the leaflet sent to residents says items should be placed in the bin individually. I would have put the glass in a plastic bag or two to try to keep it intact. But recyclers don't like items in bags - except shredded paper, presumably to stop it blowing everywhere on collection day.

   In removing the green bin, Cheshire East Council isn't thinking of people struggling to accommodate four wheelie bins, particularly in homes with small outdoor spaces. Oh, no. According to a press release sent out at the start of February, the idea is to "further boost Cheshire East's prolific recycling rate and save money." Cheshire East had a recycling rate of 49.46% in 2009/2010, which is said to be the highest in the North West and almost 10% higher than the national average. However, Cheshire East's landfill tax for 2010/2011 is 3.5million - a figure that will go to 4.2million unless more waste is recycled. The changes are meant to achieve the increased recycling.

   Residents who cannot accommodate three wheelie bins are assured that they can have council-approved sacks and 55-litre boxes instead.


COLLECTION of the three remaining bins will be on "an alternative weekly schedule". In the first week of the revised scheme, the "other" bin was emptied. "Other" means not the garden waste bin (brown) nor the recycling (grey/silver) bin. These two are emptied at the same time on the other weeks.

Presumably the two-wagon system currently operated will still apply. Garden waste has to be kept separate because it is turned into useful compost - for farmer and large gardens, I believe.

   As well as a calendar, a special envelope from Cheshire East Council also contained special sticky-back labels that householders could stick on to the appropriate bin which, basically, says what can be put into the bin. There is also a small blank space for the writing of the house number so that you get your own bin back.

   Nothing was mentioned previously about labels on tins - I always carefully took them off - but now the leaflet says they can be left on, although there is a request for tins to be squashed "if possible" but not flattened.

   A new commodity to be accepted now is - as I said - glass bottles and jars. But ceramics "such as mugs, vases and crockery" can only be disposed of at the local Household Waste Recycling Centre.

   A long list of acceptable plastic items now includes "empty plastic bags, carrier bags and film". Actually, I "recycle" supermarket bags as bin liners for my general household waste which keeps together all sorts of items that I am sure the council will not wish me to tip loose into the black bin. But there is still a ban on plastics "such as polystyrene, plant pots and hard ridged plastics". I have always felt this to be strange when the people who make the items put a number on them saying which type of plastic they are so why doesn't someone find a way of recycling them?

    There is a similar long list for acceptable paper items, including envelopes (now no longer banned because of the glue on the flap), egg boxes, waxed paper tea or coffee cups, and drinks cartons.

    Aluminium foils and clean foil trays are now also approved.

    One anomaly that goes in the change of recycling is that bottle tops can now be accepted. But as well as a sensible suggestion that plastic bottles are squashed - presumably to take up less space in the wagon - there is a request for the bottle tops to be replaced "where possible" - presumably to stop the bottle resuming its original shape as air gets into it. As a different plastic, and usually of a different colour, I would have thought they were best recycled separately. But there you go.

    I am happy that I can now recycle my shredded paper - as long as it goes in a plastic bag to keep it all together. I did this previously but then had to put it in the non-recycling bin because there seemed to be a reluctance to untie the bags to retrieve the paper. Now it can go in the recycling bin. 


THE reason behind all these "sense at last" moves is that, according to the leaflet, the recycled materials are taken to a plant operated by UPM at Shotton (North Wales) where there is a new Materials Recovery Facility. There the waste is sorted into different materials manually and automatically.  


lThe wheelie bins were introduced in 2003/4 by Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council, predecessor of Cheshire East Borough Council.

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