Lots of us are really keen to recycle as much as we can and will be really pleased that we can now put lots more stuff in our green bins than we could previously, with the new scheme brought in by the Labour council to help us recycle better and to be more ambitious with our recycling as a city in a bid to tackle the causes of climate change.
We love to do our bit in Rothwell, Woodlesford, Oulton and Carlton and have been proud to be the only ward in the city with food recycling. So we certainly welcome that we get a chance to do even more of our bit for the environment through our council bin collections.
People are still asking what the new extra items are. These are the extra things you can now put in your green bin for recycling – plastic drinks bottles, Tetra Pak cartons, the type used for some types of milk and fruit juice, yogurt pots, margarine tubs, plastic trays and certain kinds of ice cream tubs couldn’t previously be recycled through our green bins but now they can. We will of course continue to be able to recycle items such as paper, cardboard, metal cans, aluminium aerosols, foil and certain plastics types 1 (PET/PETE) 2 (HDPE/PE-HD), 4 (LDPE/PE-LD) and some 5 (PTTC) plastics. These numbers are usually shown in a triangle on plastic packaging. Some examples are see-through plastic milk containers, plastic bags and plastic food containers.
Items we still can’t put into our green bins are – wet items, black bin bags, syringes/needles, kitchen food waste, garden waste (put in brown bin), glass, wood or timber, black plastic, compostable/biodegradable plastic, dirty food cartons, polystyrene, Hot paper coffee cups, electrical items, batteries, textiles, shredded paper or any other household waste.
Something I’ve battled away at on council is to try to get the council to collect and recycle glass. The reason we still can’t recycle glass is that when it’s mixed with other dry recyclables there’s a risk of broken glass segments so glass would have to be kept separate. The value of the glass collected wouldn’t pay for the costs of the extra vehicles, containers and staff needed for the service. As the council has had huge cuts to its budget I can understand to an extent its reluctance up to now.
However, now that Leeds has declared a climate emergency, I think that the pressure will need to be kept up to make sure we do get a glass collection service in the near future. But we can still do our bit if we have transport or live near a bottle bank or recycling centre. There are quite a few locally where glass can be taken and other items such as textiles like at Morrisons in Rothwell and Lidl at Oulton.
There have been positive changes in Leeds in the last year and it’s fantastic how recycling rates in Leeds city centre have tripled in one year. This not only puts Leeds on the recycling map but also makes Leeds one of those authorities now leading the way. The Leeds By Example scheme, part of a UK wide effort to boost recycling of some of the biggest throwaway on the go culprits saw three times as many coffee cups, cans and plastic bottles recycled in one year. This has seen the use of new technology in the bins.
Leeds has committed to making Leeds carbon neutral by 2030. Recycling is just one of the ways that this can be achieved, whilst we’re now forging ahead in some areas, we still can and must do even better as our actions now will impact on not only our children but their children and grandchildren.