Tamworth will move to new recycling method next year

binsTamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet last night (Sept 9) approved plans to change the way recycling is collected in the town due to increasing contamination levels and costs of the current system.

It means that from April next year, the Tamworth and Lichfield Joint Waste Service will start moving towards ‘dual-stream recycling’ which it is hoped will improve recycling rates.

This will require residents to put card and paper in new recycling bags, while glass, cans and plastics will continue to be collected in the existing blue bins.

During the meeting, councillors stressed that the need to change is due to a dramatic shift in the international recycling market and is the best course of action for both the environment and the tax payer.

The joint service’s contract with Biffa Waste for the disposal of dry mixed recycling comes to an end in March 2022. The countries which purchase recycling waste now demand much higher quality of materials.

The cost of disposing of dry mixed recycling in one bin involves high levels of contaminated waste and is therefore no longer desirable, so the cost of disposing of waste in this way is much higher.

Dual-stream recycling involves lower disposal costs and higher income levels, due to the increased quality of recycling – which ultimately means more waste can actually be recycled, rather than incinerated.

However, the costs of implementing and operating a dual-stream recycling service are also higher, so a negotiation has been reached with Staffordshire County Council (as the waste disposal authority) to meet 50% of the extra service costs. The remaining costs will be shared between Lichfield and Tamworth councils who will continue to work together to provide a joint waste service across both areas.

Cllr Daniel Cook, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Waste, said: “It is important to remember that Tamworth Borough Council is not wanting to introduce any new receptacle or further separation of waste due to any set of circumstances that we control. This is due to external forces.

“There has been a shift in the international recycling market over the last few years and no longer will recycling companies around the world take contaminated recycled products. We need to separate out the recycling and produce better quality, and improve the quantity of, recycling in order to help the environment.

“We have reached an agreement with Staffordshire County Council and our partner Lichfield District Council and can approve this report tonight to enable us to move forward with implementation and communications with residents.”

Leader of the Council, Cllr Jeremy Oates, added: “As a resident of Tamworth I don’t want to be sorting all my waste. I want to go back to the ‘80s where you just throw everything in a galvanised bin and it was removed. The problem with that is it went in a hole in the ground and it did nothing for the environment, so we can’t do what I want.

“We can’t just throw it away and let someone else worry about it, we’ve actually got to take responsibility as an authority and as individuals. The harsh reality is this new method is the right thing to do environmentally and the right thing to do by the taxpayer. We’ve all got to do our bit and play our part.”

Work will now begin to inform and shape the operational detail of the new collections. This will be supported by communications to residents before the new system goes live next year.

Members of the public can view the associated documents to last night’s Cabinet meeting (Sept 9) on the Tamworth Borough Council website.

A video recording of the July meeting can also be viewed on the TamworthCouncil YouTube page.