Council responds to recycling concerns

Harrogate council is to move to a new headquarters
Harrogate council is to move to a new headquarters

Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) has responded to concerns from residents about issues with the kerbside recycling scheme.

In the last two weeks the council has received complaints that its staff have stopped taking cardboard away during the weekly recycling collection.

Residents had voiced concerns that this change was without warning but the local authority says this material has never been part of the kerbside recycling scheme.

Councillor Michael Harrison, Cabinet Member for the Environment, Waste Reduction and Recycling said: “I welcome the fact that the vast majority of residents are keen to recycle their household waste where possible, and recognise that it can be confusing as to which items can be recycled and what cannot.

“While we would like to be able to recycle brown cardboard, corrugated cardboard and a variety of plastic materials, unfortunately we are currently unable to do this, as we need to balance the cost of collection, the demand for the recycling product, and the income we receive for the materials.”

According to the council, corrugated cardboard such as pizza boxes and heavy duty packaging boxes is not as versatile a material as paper and other card but there are worries this means that the waste is now needlessly going to landfill.

Giles Latham said: “The recycling has changed due to the market. It has been taken in the past but it was never been part of the contract, previously we have been able to provide it to recyclers and and that was not an issue, but unfortunately now it is.”

The authority explained that if cardboard is mixed with paper and card, the mills reject the loads as contaminated and the entire load going to landfill.

This means a significant reduction in the income which is used to fund the council’s recycling programme and they face an additional cost to dispose of the rejected material.

The authority also told people of Harrogate that plastic bottles are the only plastic that are currently be included in kerbside recycling and other items should be disposed of by alternative means in a statement.

They suggested that items not included in the kerbside recycling scheme could be taken to one of our district’s waste recycling centres rather than being included with household general waste.

The statment also explained that council staff are unable to sort material during the collection, and if items that can’t be collected are put out all of the household’s recycling may be left behind.

Coun Harrison said: “We are working hard to improve our recycling rates and over the last year we have collected over 10,700 tonnes of kerbside recycling, a recycling rate of 41.37%, representing an annual increase of 6.1%. I would like to thank the district’s residents for their understanding. Their efforts and continued support are very much appreciated and together we are creating a greener district and making significant savings for the tax payer.”

For a full list of what can be recycled and more information please visit www.harrogate.gov.uk/ or call the HBC Customer Services on 01423 500 600.