Unforeseen issues see Harrogate Council's recycling targets dip

The drop in performance between 2015 and 2016 saw the amount of waste recycled in the district drop by 5.6 per cent.
The drop in performance between 2015 and 2016 saw the amount of waste recycled in the district drop by 5.6 per cent.

"Unforeseen” shortfalls have left Harrogate Borough Council missing its performance targets for recycling.

The drop in performance between 2015 and 2016 saw the amount of waste recycled in the district drop by 5.6 per cent. The 2016 to 2017 goal is now almost 10 per cent off target.

Pointing to issues including a contractor shifting from communal to business waste the council argue they have performed well.

Patrick Kilburn, Harrogate Borough Council’s Head of Park and Environmental Services said: “When setting the targets for 16/17 we could not envisage that one of our contractors who had historically provided ‘bring bank’ glass facilities for the community, would refocus his business interest away from communal glass banks to supporting business customers with their collections of
glass.

“Regrettably business waste cannot contribute to the domestic recycling targets and therefore these tonnages can no longer be included in our performance, which resulted in a reduction of 1,200 tonnes.”

Mr Kilburn added: “If we take away those unforeseen shortfalls, the council actually collected 1.86 per cent more from household sources than it did in 2015/16. Work will continue to further improve on these figures.”

The shift by the council contractor represented the largest blow to the council meeting its recycling
target.

However Sainsburys in Harrogate also removed it’s ‘bring bank’ glass facilities, instead opting for a recycling agreement with a third party.

This has also meant a drop in 80 tonnes towards the council’s recycling total.

Charities and community groups across the district have also lost access to recycling credits.

This was provided through a North Yorkshire County Council scheme until October 2016, the loss of this is believed to have led to 350 tonnes less recycling.

Between 2014 and 2015 the amount of recycling collected hit 23,395 tonnes, compared to 2016 and 2017’s 22,094
tonnes.

Performance indicator targets are set by the council looking at the previous year’s performance and then factoring in changes, such as the renewal of a recycling
contract.

The council remain confident of their ability to address the issue, pointing to efforts including campaigns it undertakes around recycling week, Easter and
Christmas.

Alongside this they suggest that in the future the new processing plant at Allerton Park will increase the amount of material that is recycled in the district.