Black bin bags to be inspected at tips
PEOPLE taking bags of rubbish to council-run tips could have them checked by staff to see if they include items which could have been recycled.
As part of a drive to continue to increase recycling rates, staff at May Gurney, which runs three household waste and recycling centres on behalf of North Somerset Council, have been told to check through rubbish bags.
The authority says its research revealed up to 50 per cent of rubbish in black bags taken to the tips could actually be recycled.
Checks on bags will only be done at the recycling centres and not as part of the roadside collections.
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North Somerset Council spokeswoman, Zoe Briffitt, said the authority was trying to cut the amount which went to landfill.
She said: "It may be in some cases that when people take their black sacks to the recycling centre that our staff will open and check what is inside.
"Residents in North Somerset are doing brilliantly when it comes to recycling, but we could do even better."
In 2011/12, the council recycled 61,261 tonnes of waste, compared to just 22,164 tonnes in 2005/6 – an increase of 176 per cent.
The amount of waste sent to landfill has also reduced by two thirds over the same period, from nearly 80,000 tonnes to 30,000 tonnes.
The amount of biodegradable waste sent to landfill each year has reduced by 70 per cent from 62,000 tonnes to 19,000 tonnes and the council has seen the amount it pays in landfill reduce by £7.8 million in six years.
North Somerset Council says it is the second best unitary authority for recycling in the country and the best in the south west.
But research has showed although recycling rates have soared, North Somerset residents still produce among the highest amount of household waste and recycling per head of population in the country.
The amount of overall waste produced in North Somerset rose for the first time in 2011/2012 since 2008.
As well as checking rubbish taken to recycling centres the authority is also planning to work with supermarkets to reduce the amount of packaging and also look at increasing the types of items – including plastics – which can be recycled.
There are also plans to increase recycling collections from flats and change the green waste collection service from sacks to wheelie bins to reduce the amount of green waste put out for collection.
Currently the authority collects food and recycling each week, with fortnightly collections of household waste and green waste.
Bristol City Council said it had no plans to introduce similar checks on bags of rubbish being taken to its recycling centres.
The Post contacted South Gloucestershire Council but no-one responded to our request for a comment.
The authority's tips include separate sections for recycling.