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Will Suffolk get kerbside glass collections?

PUBLISHED: 11:30 31 October 2019

Glass bottle being put into a recycling bin  Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

Glass bottle being put into a recycling bin Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

Kerbside collections of glass bottles will not be on the cards for Suffolk in the near future, after studies found it would cost too much.

Glass waste is not accepted in recycling bins in Suffolk. 

Picture: ANDY ABBOTTGlass waste is not accepted in recycling bins in Suffolk. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Detailed investigations have taken place over recent months by Suffolk Waste Partnership (SWP) - a collective of the county's five district and borough councils and Suffolk County Council.

Currently glass is not accepted in domestic recycling bins, but can be taken to bottle banks and recycling centres.

The partnership had been investigating the potential for collections of glass bottles in Suffolk, whether it was adaptations to existing refuse trucks or a separate collection.

But the study has failed to find a way of making collections of glass financially possible.

Phil Smart from Ipswich Borough Council said studies to establish whether kerbside glass collections were possible had found it could not work financially. Picture: IBCPhil Smart from Ipswich Borough Council said studies to establish whether kerbside glass collections were possible had found it could not work financially. Picture: IBC

Speaking at Ipswich Borough Council's scrutiny committee last week, Councillor Phil Smart said: "It has been looked at thoroughly by Suffolk Waste Partnership.

"It is something that has been looked at and economically it doesn't work for Suffolk.

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"If the government wants it then the government is going to have to pay for it."

Mr Smart said that while in theory it could work in urban areas, the large rural nature of Suffolk meant a countywide solution wasn't possible.

In some blocks of flats in Ipswich, glass collection bins are offered, but this is run as a commercial scheme with no local authority input.

According to SWP, around 70% of all glass used in Suffolk is recycled through the county's network of bottle banks - around 16,000 tonnes per year.

A spokeswoman from the partnership said kerbside glass collections could cost the taxpayer more money than the existing bottle bank system, and had been discouraged from being added to existing recycling bin collections because it could contaminate the rest of the waste.

The spokeswoman added: "In December 2018 the government published its Resource and Waste Strategy.

"This included proposals for a number of measures including a consistent collection of certain recyclable materials from all households nationwide and a deposit return scheme.

"Whilst glass bottles and jars are being considered as part of both these proposals, the government has not yet come to any final decisions and continues to consult with stakeholders.

"The SWP will respond to any related consultation the government brings forward and once any final decisions are taken, we will need to consider the implications for the services we provide to Suffolk residents."

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