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Answers to Questions: Rubbish and Recycling

by timpickstone on 17 July, 2019

At the most recent full Council meeting of Bury Council, your Liberal Democrat team of councillors asked a number of questions regarding rubbish and recycling.

Questions and Answers below:


Councillor Cristina Tegolo asked about the number of households that have had their bins removed by the Council: “Could the Leader inform members how many households have had recycling bins removed in the current financial year and previous two years?”

(Answer)
The following numbers of bins (of all colours) have been asked tobe picked up or removed by residents via the Contact Centre: 

2017/18 706 bins
2018/19 584 bins
2019/20 176 bins  (so far)

The majority of these bins are ‘abandoned’ in back street environments and are often contaminated recycling bins, which cannot be emptied on a recycling round. 

Generally speaking an Officer would not remove recycling bins from a household for persistent misuse and contamination other than in the case of capacity, where someone might genuinely have difficulty determining what waste should go in each bin and who inadvertently are incapable of recycling properly. 

Councillor Steve Wright asked about how much of the blue and green bin waste streams were rejected because of ‘contamination’ (the wrong things being put in the bins. The answer – 18.45% of blue bin waste seems extra–ordinarily high – 1 in 6 lorries of rubbish rejected because they are contiminated….. “Could the Leader inform members how many tonnes and what percentage of Bury’s ‘blue bin’ and ‘green bin’ waste streams were rejected due to contamination the current financial year and previous two years?”

(Answer) All co-mingled recycling (glass, can sand plastic bottles) collected across GM (with the exception of Wigan Council) is delivered to a single sorting facility or MRF (Materials Recycling Facility) at Longley Lane, Sharston in South Manchester. Co-mingled recycling in Bury is collected in the blue bin. 

The average MRF reject rate (for the whole of GM) for the above time period is 18.45%. Rejects consist of items incorrectly placed in the co-mingled recycling by residents that cannot be recycled and they are incinerated with associated energy recovery. 

In the previous two years the following tonnages of rejects from Bury have been incinerated: 

2018/19 1733 tonnes
2017/18 1560 tonnes 

Reject rates for the paper and card recycling stream i.e. the green bin in Bury are minimal by comparison and as such no contamination figures are provided by the GMCA.

Councillor Tim Pickstone asked a related question about the amount of plastic waste which ends up in the ‘grey bins’ stream – the answer seems like quite a lot!: “Could the Council’s spokesperson on the GMWDA inform members what the estimated volume and percentage of plastics are that are disposed of through the residual waste stream?”

(Answer) Using data from the recent waste composition study, it is estimated that c. 58,841 tonnes of plastic – this is 16.05% for all dense plastics and plastic films in the residual kerbside collected waste stream in Greater Manchester. 

Councillor Steve Wright asked how much money the 9 local councils in Greater Manchester spent on buying Greater Manchester Waste Disposal out of the PFI (private finance initiative) deal with Viridor Laing. The amount (£1/2 billion) is a staggeringly large amount of public money….. “Could the Council’s spokesperson on the GMWDA inform members how much public money was spent releasing the Authority from the previous waste disposal contract with Viridor Laing?”

(Answer) Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority’s £500m buy-out was funded by around £300m in borrowing from the region’s combined authority – via Oldham council, Manchester council and the region’s pension fund – along with £120m government borrowing. The remainder comes from up-front cash already held by GMWDA. 

Finally, in response to a request from a resident, Councillor Tim Pickstone asked about what the council’s approach was when a dead cat was picked up by the refuse collection teams: “Could the Leader inform members what the Council’s approach is to waste collection of dead pets, particularly dead cats (ie cats found dead in the street). What measures are in place to attempt to contact owners through cat’s microchips?

(Answer) When a dead pet (usually a cat) is picked up from the highway by the Street Cleansing service it is brought back to Bradley Fold Depot to be scanned. The exception is those animals that are so mutilated as being incapable of being scanned. 

If the scan detects a microchip it will identify its number. An Officer then contacts an organisation called ‘Petlog’ who will confirm the contact details of the animal’s owner. The same Officer will then contact the owner explaining the situation to them and giving them two options. 

They can leave the animal with Street Cleansing to dispose of, explaining to the owner precisely what this means, i.e. it is delivered to SUEZ at Fernhill Transfer Loading Station for placement in a freezer from which it is collected by another company who remove the animal for cremation. Alternatively, the service will deliver the animal back to its owner if requested. 

If no chip is detected in the animal then it is kept for a maximum of 24 hours on the vehicle before being delivered to SUEZ and placed in the freezer. 

Once an animal is placed in the freezer it cannot be retrieved by the owner because it is then classed as hazardous waste, only to be removed for disposal via incineration. 

Hope these answers are useful – get in touch if you have any questions or comments!

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