Bridgend County Borough Council – tackling contamination in communal recycling bins

Addressing the contamination issues in Wildmill where communal bins are used with a communications campaign

Wildmill has Bridgend’s largest area of high density housing and flats with approximately 700 properties of ex council social housing owned by Valleys2Coast. The area is landlocked and unable to be serviced by a kerbside waste collection. The area has 29 communal recycling points at convenient locations to help residents recycle plastics, cans, food waste, paper and glass. Unfortunately, due to the design of the recycling vehicle for estates and its capacity, it is not possible to provide a container to help residents recycle their cardboard.

Bridgend’s waste contractor Kier had been experiencing continual problems at Wildmill where recycling bins were being contaminated by mixed materials, generally cardboard in the paper bin or food waste being disposed of in plastic carrier bags.

There are operational issues when collections crews identify wrong materials present, then the contaminated bins were left unemptied. Kier would then reroute a trade vehicle to empty the bin when that vehicle was available. This was perceived by residents as Kier was ‘not caring’, not wishing to empty the recycling bins or that the bins needed to be serviced more regularly. This also caused a knock on effect for Valleys2Coast as residents would then leave their waste at the communal recycling points when they found that the recycling bins were full, causing a litter problem for their staff. The communal recycling bins at Wildmill are emptied twice a week.

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