Recycling is here to stay

Whether we like it or not, recycling is here to stay.

Fortunately, I believe that most people are either right behind it - or are rapidly warming to the idea.

There will always be a few who either can’t be bothered or simply think ‘why should I?’

But judging by the figures we’re seeing – which show tonnages more than doubling since we introduced our new collection vehicles – there’s clearly an appetite for recycling in the borough.

I’m often asked why we can’t follow other councils that simply have one container for all the recycling to go into? It sounds tempting and would certainly be easier.

But last week our kerbside sorting approach was endorsed in no uncertain terms when we heard about new EU plans due to come into effect from 2015 that will require everyone to separate waste more efficiently.

Here in St Helens our residents are already doing it – and have been doing it really well for several years now. Our new fleet of recycling vehicles is designed to match the way we segregate our waste and is proving very successful.

While no one could argue that a range of different recycling containers lined up on the pavement is particularly attractive, it doesn’t seem like there is going to be any alternative.

Currently around half of the 10.8 million tonnes that’s recycled across the UK is ‘co-mingled’ - meaning that wine bottles, cans and newspapers are thrown together to be sorted at material recovery facilities. Contamination - by broken bits of glass in particular - is a major problem at many such centres.

But kerbside collections, like we have in St Helens - and where items are carefully sifted by the homeowner into separate boxes and then taken away - produce higher quality rubbish.

Much of this pre-sorted recycling can go straight to reprocessing plants - many of which are based here in the UK.

So, from 2015, many other councils will have to up their game – as it will become a legal requirement to collect paper, metal, plastic and glass waste materials separately.

Here, we’re already well on the way – and again I’d like to pass on my thanks to everyone, both for bearing with us while the new recycling system beds in – and helping to increase our recycling totals so dramatically in just a few short weeks.

g It’s that time of year again – the run up to Halloween and bonfire night that our younger residents really look forward to.

But we want everyone to enjoy themselves safely – and not cause a problem for anyone else in their communities.

So once again there’s another welcome appearance for the Good Guys campaign - which encourages residents to report bonfire build-ups and organises diversionary activities for young people in the area.

No one is trying to be a killjoy, but street bonfires can be dangerous and unpredictable - and can often fuel anti-social behaviour and firework misuse.

The Good Guy campaign encourages residents to report the build up of combustible waste and street bonfires to the council on 01744 676789. Special teams organised by the Probation Service and our Environmental Protection team will then come out and dispose of the material safely.

Organised displays are definitely the way forward – and the best place to see a great firework display will be Sherdley Park on Tuesday, November 5. It’s our ‘Spark in the Park’ event and promises to be a truly spectacular night.

Don’t forget to get there early though.

This year’s promises to be more popular than ever – and parking spaces will be in demand.