Agenda item

Litter Bin Replacement & Recycling on-the-go Trial


The Assistant Director (Operations) presented with a report that provided an overview of plans to replace the litter bins and trial recycling ‘on-the-go’ bins at St Andrew’s Gardens. Details were also included on proposals for the further introduction of recycling ‘on-the-go’ at the Riverside Leisure area and Woodlands Park, subject to the success of the trial.

The Waste Projects & Compliance Officer advised that the best and most viable way to implement the scheme had been considered and were set out in the report. Open areas such as parks were controlled areas and were considered to be easy to monitor. WRAP studies had suggested that typically 60% of the contents of litter bins was recyclable. Therefore, recycling ‘on-the-go’ would lower residual waste arisings and would increase recycling performance as well as helping promote and reinforce recycling behaviours at home and at work. Feedback from counterparts in seven Kent district councils had suggested that contamination of street recycling was very high, particularly in town centre locations or near to fast food establishments and this resulted in the contents being disposed of as residual waste. It was noted that the current bins at St Andrew’s Gardens were not fit for purpose and the report showed photos of the replacement recycling bins. It was hoped that following the trial, this scheme and the associated bins would be spread throughout the Borough which would also result in a consistent style of bin, with the size depending on location, being used in Gravesham.

The following points were raised on this subject:

·                     The bins are made of metal and had metal liners so fire damage would be minimal. However, it was noted that there was a very low incidence of fires in park bins.

·                     The mechanics of the Deposit Return Scheme had been set out in a Government consultation document and another was awaited. Generally it meant that, in future, the purchase price of certain items such as canned drinks and drinks in plastic bottles would include a tax for example 10 pence on a can. If the consumer returns the empty can or bottle to the shop, the item would be put through a machine and the consumer would get a money off voucher or money back in return.

·                     It was noted that the removal of bins from some areas had resulted in less litter. The officer advised that this was the case and it was hoped that bins would be placed in the appropriate site and would be the appropriate size for the area. This would be monitored to check that the capacity and location of the bin was correct.

·                     The new bins were welcomed as it was felt that old, overflowing bins sent the wrong message for residents and for visitors and larger bins were suggested for the High Street area. Members were reminded that this was the start of a review for the whole Borough and the capacity of the bin would depend on where it was sited and how busy the area was and how much litter was collected. For example, along the narrower pavements in the High Street, bins would have to be smaller and more narrow to allow pedestrians to pass by safely.

·                     It was suggested that a message in relation to littering was placed on the side of the new bins. The officer agreed to consult with the Communications Manager on this point as he did not want to risk diluting the message on the front of the bins.

·                     The Assistant Director (Operations) advised that contamination of recyclates was a big concern which was why open spaces were being used in the trial. Town Centre bins tended to contain more contaminants. However, brightly coloured messages on the side of bins might help people make the right bin choice. In addition, clear sacks were being used in the bins so collectors could see what had been disposed off. The trial was intended to assist in ironing out problems before the roll out of the scheme.

·                     Following questions on the ability of disabled people such as wheelchair users and the visually impaired to use the new bins, the Committee was advised that the new bins were easier to access than the existing bins as they were side, rather than top, loading and were not very high. Given wheelchair users could access the new bins it was expected that children could also use them. In addition visually impaired people would be assisted by the aperture of the recycling bin being a different shape and surrounded by a brightly coloured line.

·                     Members were advised that page 8 of the report showed photos of both the double bins and noted that the litter side would also have an ash tray. In addition, the bin as shown on page 13 of the report was more aesthetically pleasing and its use would be investigated.

In conclusion, the Chair stated that he felt that this was a very good scheme. Bins would need to have the Borough Council logo on them as well as the appropriate signage together with the scheme being given significant publicity. If the trial was successful it would be rolled out otherwise the Council faced the potential of losing recyclable material. The Assistant Director (Operations) confirmed that discussions had been held with the Communications Team with regard to publicity.

Resolved that the report be noted.

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