Recycling trial investigates benefits of co-mingled collection

A trial change to recycling collection on one round in Ulverston is being carried out to inform future decisions about the service.

Westmorland and Furness Council is committed to improving and harmonising its waste and recycling service, with different services in place in the three localities of Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland a legacy from local government reorganisation last year.

Harmonising waste and recycling is a priority and much work has already started to consider the challenges, practicalities and impacts of various options that need to be considered.

As part of research into the best way to harmonise services, a “co-mingled” recycling collection started on Monday (29 January) on one round in Ulverston.

Householders on that round – specially selected for a trial as it has a good mix of properties and demographics, and good recycling rates – have been informed about the trial, although they are not being asked to do anything differently at the moment.

A rear-loading vehicle will be used to collect recycling mixed together and it will be sorted afterwards. This will allow staff to research, gather evidence about the effectiveness and efficiency of a co-mingled collection and the collection vehicle.

For the purposes of the trial, householders on this round have been asked to continue to separate and put their recycling out as usual in the blue boxes and bags.

Councillor Dyan Jones, Cabinet Member for Customer and Waste Services, said: “Westmorland and Furness Council is committed to improving and harmonising many of its services, to ultimately ensure that services are all delivered in the same way, and to the same consistent standard, across the whole of the new authority area.

“We understand residents frustrations that services differ between the localities and I can assure everybody that everybody at the council shares those frustrations and is totally committed to sorting it out as quickly as we can.

“A complicating factor has understanding the implications of the government’s National Waste and Resources Strategy. That strategy has been published now and we can now move forward with confidence, knowing what the strategy means in terms of services and targets we need to deliver and meet.

“Sorting facilities and technology have improved in recent years so co-mingling is something we need to investigate. No decisions have been made but potential benefits of co-mingling could include less sorting for householders, while the rear-loading vehicles used are safer for crews and improve accessibility to back alleys and narrow streets.

“We also need to say a massive thank you in advance to residents on the trial round. In the long run, making everybody’s collections the same will bring benefits for all, including simplification for residents, cost savings that can be re-invested in the service and higher recycling rates.”

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