A Swansea Labour-inspired campaign to encourage more people to recycle their household waste has been brought into force by the City Council.
Residents who have not yet got on board with existing kerbside recycling services and are putting recyclable items into black bin bags, will need to start doing the right thing to enable the city to meet environmental targets set by the Welsh Government.
Swansea Council recycling officers are now working with non-recycling households as well as those who recycle very little, in a bid to increase the amount of waste they recycle.
The latest plans, which came into operation on February 25th, are part of the Council’s ‘Keep it out’ campaign and prior to kerbside collections, recycling officers will be out monitoring black bags and if large amounts of recyclable waste is detected when the bag is shook, households will be contacted by recycling officers about how to recycle.
It’s estimated that one in five households still refuse to recycle their household waste, leading to higher landfill charges to the Council for burying the waste at a landfill site.
Councils in Wales need to achieve a 64% recycling rate by 2019/20 and in Swansea the projected rate for 2018/19 is around 63%.
The Council will also use its enforcement powers as a last resort if letters and advice fail to achieve the results they need to meet the government targets.
A recent public consultation on the proposals received overwhelming support for the plans.
More than 480 people responded to the consultation, with 84% favouring tougher measures for residents who refuse to recycle their household waste.
Labour Councillor Mark Thomas, Cabinet Member for Environment and Infrastructure Management, said: “We have operated kerbside recycling services in Swansea for more than 15 years and the majority of households are taking part.
“Our ongoing surveys show that there are still residents who either refuse to recycle or do very little, opting only to use black bags.
“Residents who have yet to start recycling have plenty of time to collect recycling bags from the council so they can do the right thing and dispose of their household waste in the right way.
“Glass and tins can be detected very easily in black bags without the need of going through the bag. A simple shake of the bag will tell our staff if households are putting materials in their black bags which they should be recycling.
“It’s worth pointing out that this is not an exercise to catch people out who make simple mistakes and accidentally put recyclable waste in their black bag. We are not looking to penalise residents who already recycle properly.”
Some Councils in Wales have introduced alternative measures to manage household waste and boost their recycling performance – this has included reducing the number of black bags households are allowed to put out and reducing the frequency of collections of black bag waste.
In Swansea, households can put up to three black bags out for collection every other week.
Cllr Thomas added: “While those measures may be effective elsewhere in the country, it’s not something we are considering. This would be unfair on those who are recycling and that’s not right in my opinion.”
To find out more about the latest plans visit www.swansea.gov.uk/keepitout