RECYCLING rates of just 36 per cent have prompted a major overhaul of waste collection in Gloucester.
New, innovative ideas for a collection service fit for the future include replacing the council’s fleet of bin lorries with ones that can hold more recyclable items.
Residents would also not have to sort their recyclables – the work instead being done by the waste teams.
A bid to reach a 50 per cent recycling rate has prompted a year-long review into the service by the city council.
Split-back lorries used in Bristol are being eyed up as the perfect model when the contracts for the current vehicles comes up for renewal.
Councillor Gordon Williams (C, Abbey), who has been involved in a special waste think tank, unveiled the ambitious plans at a meeting on Wednesday.
He said: “The group feel the current service is efficient, but we have been presented with a golden opportunity when the current fleet of vehicles comes up for renewal.”
Sajid Patel, cabinet member for the environment, will propose changes to the service within six months.
He is also being encouraged to use special computer modelling to reimagine the way collections are carried out. The system can design new, more efficient routes based on the city’s street layouts.
Mr Taylor added: “There is a real desire to increase the recycling rate. If we don’t, the council could face fines by the European Union for missing its recycling targets.
Kingsway mum-of-one Sarah Churchill, from Northwood Drive, said that the council’s low recycling rate may not be wholly representative of the true picture.
She said: “A lot of people these days don’t even bother recycling through the council. My leftover food goes to the goats and sheep behind my horses and many people send their jars to friends who make jams.
“These days there are all sorts of websites that allow people to give away items they don’t want rather than just throwing them out.”
She also pointed to Waterwells Academy Primary School, on the Kingsway estate, which recently appealed for collections of unwanted cardboard and paper which they will use for arts and crafts activities. “That’s much better than putting it in a recycling bin,” she said.
HUNDREDS of city residents experience problems with their recycling collections each week because their streets are too narrow or they live in a flat.
Newly-built, narrow roads in Kingsway are particularly troublesome for refuse lorries that struggle to get down the streets.
Hundreds of other residents, in areas such as Barton, have received letters from the council asking them to move their cars on collection days because some lorries had collided with wing mirrors in their efforts to get down the streets.
A rethink of what lorries will be used in the future is on the cards – but a solution will not be easy to find.
Councillor Fred Wood, cabinet member for performance and resources, warned: “Accessibility is a real issue and the solution isn’t going to be as easy or palatable as we perhaps hope.”
Council leader Paul James admitted that it was a ‘complex’ issue, while councillor Gordon Taylor (C, Abbey) said: “Clearly these problems will not be solved overnight but they need to be incorporated into future planning policy.”