Recycling banks could close in Shropshire in bid to save council £237,000 a year
Shropshire Council is planning to axe over 120 recycling banks in a bid to save more than £230,000.
The council’s cabinet will decide on the plans at a meeting next week, but the authority says the decision will deliver much needed savings.
The sites to close will be the “bring bank” sites which have bins for glass, cans, newspapers and textiles among others.
In the Oswestry alone, there are bring banks at the Morrisons car park, Sainsbury’s car park, Gobowen Railway Station car park, Morda Village Hall, The Queen’s Head hotel car park, Stans supermarket in St Martins, Trefonen and The Punch Bowl in West Felton.
Mark Barrow, the council’s director of place, said the benefits to the council outweigh the negatives.
He said: “Shropshire Council and Veolia currently provide bring banks at 120 sites across Shropshire.
“The council is proposing to remove the bring bank sites to generate a saving of £237,000.”
The proposal will go before cabinet on March 20. However, there are now fears for a rise in fly-tipping across the county.
The banks cost £237,000 a year to provide which the council wants to save by closing and removing them and altering that part of its contract with contractor, Veolia.
It says the banks are abused by private businesses and traders and there are also problems with people leaving other rubbish beside the bring banks.
A report to the council's cabinet meeting next Wednesday, says that there are established alternatives for householders in terms of kerbside recycling collections which, it says offers environmental benefits over the bring bank system.
While there is no alternative for textiles, the reports says there are alternative charity and commercial bring bank services across the country as well as charity shops.
The bring banks are services by three Veolia vehicles and the report stresses that the drivers and loaders on those vehicles will be redeployed to take on work currently done by agency staff.
Paul Beard, Shropshire Council's waste contracts manager, said all residents should have a kerbside collection.
He said he was concerned with the business use of the sites.
"The collection crews estimate that at least 50 per cent of the waste picked up is from trade sources, particularly bottles and cans from food and drink premises with paper and cardboard from various establishments," he said.
"The sites are provided for household use but are abused by traders who should be dealing with their waste through formal contracts with licensed waste collection companies, rather than relying on council tax payers to provide a service.
"Shropshire Council has no obligation to provide waste collection and disposal services free of charge to businesses."
Mr Beard said the quality of material collected from the bring banks was low because it was often contaminated with non-recyclable materials.
He said at a recent survey of a site in Minsterley the liquid carton bank was found to be about one third full with the contents including coat hangers, reading glasses, a beer keg and a large portion of wedding cake.
"This was an apparently good site compared to some others," he added.
Removing recycling bins 'will lead to more fly-tipping'
A south Shropshire councillor is concerned that the plans to remove recycling bins from car parks and other venues across the county will lead to more fly-tipping.
Councillor Andy Boddington, who represents Ludlow on the council said: "The percentage of waste recycled by Shropshire Council began to fall last year.
"The proposal to remove bring banks will only increase this decline. The council doesn’t recognise that many people live in older apartments will little storage for any type of waste. That’s certainly the case in Ludlow town centre. That’s why the bring banks in the town are often full to the hilt.
"Some of the fly-tipping the council reports is simply bottles and cans left because the bins have overflowed.
"Shropshire Council is suggesting that residents should take their recycling to the Craven Arms household recycling centre. That’s nine miles from Ludlow. That’s hardly good for the environment and for many people the journey is impractical. That means that more recyclables will go in the black bin and will be incinerated, pumping the greenhouse gas CO2 into the atmosphere.
"The council should be driving recycling rates up, not taking measures that will reduce them. It is cutting back at the very time the government is putting a stronger emphasis on recycling. Shropshire Council is going in the opposite direction. It only cares about making cuts, not about the environment and the future of our planet."