Blue bin contamination checks on the way

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Letters reminding householders of Council’s efforts to tackle the issue of contamination in Blue Recycling Bins, are being distributed across the Derry City and Strabane District Council this week.

Inspection teams from the Council’s Environment section will be out and about from next week inspecting blue bins in an effort to deal with the problem of contamination in the recycling bins.

Conor Canning, Head of Environment with Derry City and Strabane District Council says people are continuing to present non-recyclable items in their blue bins which is resulting in entire loads of recyclable material being rejected which in turn is costing the Council thousands of pounds that could be better spent elsewhere.

He explained: “Blue bin contamination is costing ratepayers thousands of pounds and we will have teams out and about in the coming weeks in an effort to tackle the problem and work with communities on what they can and cannot put in their blue bin. This contamination is having a knock-on effort on our ability to keep rates levels down and protect and enhance other vital services.

“It is an ongoing problem and we are seeing nappies, plastic bags, food waste and general rubbish, which are contaminating the entire contents, being disposed of in the blue bins. The onus is on the public to take responsibility for their waste and to use the bins that are provided correctly. Our teams will not be collecting bins containing contaminated items where householders fail to adhere to the guidance and advice provided.”

Derry City and Strabane District Council Waste Services Manager Nicola McCool added that when blue bin contents are tipped out at the recycling facility the extent of the problem is very visible. Encouraging people to take responsibility for their waste and to use their bins appropriately, Nicola says every effort is being made to assist the public so as to ensure that they use all of their bins responsibly.

She said: “Recycling more and recycling right is one of the easiest ways we can save ratepayers money – but we also need every household to play their part. Items that can be put in the blue ‘ recycling’ bins are glass, paper, food containers(please ensure that these have been rinsed out before hand) and drink cans, plastic bottles, cardboard and food and drink cartons.

“However, items that cannot be recycled – but are often put in the blue bins – include plastic bags, nappies, black bin bags and general food waste, which contaminate the recyclable materials that it comes into contact with. Recycling is a win-win situation for all – and we really appreciate that the majority of householders are committed to getting it right. I would also like to stress that most residents have been excellent recyclers.

Conor Canning added that there are some areas in the city and district that are doing really well explaining that recent reported figures for April to June 2017 showed a recycling and composting rate of 43.2%.

“Unfortunately there are a number of areas that could be doing better and we are dealing with the issue proactively. “It is important to recognise that more can be done to reduce waste disposal costs. We want to remind people that with their co-operation and by making a few simple changes to how they dispose of their waste, Council can significantly reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. This in turn helps to keep our rates down. Any savings can also be invested in the provision of key services throughout the city and district.

“We hope that householders understand that it benefits us all to recycle the right waste in the right bin. If people are unsure about what goes into the blue bins they can visit our website or contact Council if they need further help.”