Bury St Edmunds: Borough bid to recycle glass could be scrapped

Peter Stevens, of St Edmundsbury Borough Council Peter Stevens, of St Edmundsbury Borough Council

Friday, March 7, 2014
9:38 AM

A move to allow glass to be recycled in blue household bins looks set to be scrapped due to mounting costs.

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Peter Stevens, chairman of the Suffolk Waste Partnership – a strategic partnership of the county, district and borough councils that work to improve waste management services – revealed last year he believed the measure would simplify recycling and mean less glass would end up in landfill.

But Mr Stevens, who represents Cavendish ward at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said the cost of required modifications at the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) in Great Blakenham was tipping the balance against the switch.

“We feel that it may be more effective for local communities to recycle glass and to take the rewards rather than spend the extra money on upgrading the recycling plant.”

He added: “There have been some new regulations about cost effectiveness of glass recycling and I think we are really being caught by this new EU legislation.

“It would appear at the moment that we are edging towards communities to continue to collect and recycle our glass for us.”

Mr Stevens, who previously said he hoped blue bins would take over from bottle banks over the next 24 months, added that no final decision had been taken as negotiations continue with Viridor who currently sort recycling at the Great Blakenham site.

He added: “It’s a shame, but we haven’t made a final decision yet as we are still negotiating the new contract.”

Green councillor Mark Ereira-Guyer, who represents Tower division in Bury St Edmunds and helped fight for the introduction of brown composting bins in the borough, urged Mr Stevens to keep looking at allowing glass in blue bins.

“My key message is we don’t stop now. The people of west Suffolk have really embraced recycling on a big level; they have steadily recycled more and more. We have one of the highest recycling rates in the UK. The bottles seem to be almost the last thing really.”

Figures released last year showed that there had been a slight drop in the tonnage of waste delivered to the MRF – going from 45,027 in 2012/11 to 44,668 tonnes in 2012/13.

Malcolm Firth, chairman of Suffolk Recycling Consortium, six waste collection authorities working to provide dry recycling materials to the MRF, previously said the reduction could be due to the economy or eco-friendly packaging.

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