Flintshire County Council plans to fine residents for landfill waste- Helen Tandy

I live in Broughton, Flintshire, Wales which is just over the English/Welsh border. During August and September I spent a lot of time researching zero waste and recycling based around – The Rubbish Diet, Zero Waste Week, Recycle Week and Waste Less Live More Week.…read more… see my blog..

One thing that became very apparent speaking to friends and colleagues is that no one knows what they should and shouldn’t be recycling, which isn’t a surprise as I work in Manchester, go to meetings in Chester and live in Broughton and each council has a different policy. Then I have friends in flats who’s recycling doesn’t match the county in which they live. People think after all that effort, it all goes to landfill anyway. I also had some comments around the fact you sort it all, but then it gets to the plant and is mixed back up. Some people just don’t bother, that’s apparent if I walk around my estate on recycling day, many neighbours don’t recycle or don’t fully recycle e.g. not bothering with food waste.

As well as each county having different rules we all have different facilities (bins and bags). I have two large wheely bins, black (land fill), brown bin (garden waste)  a blue tub (glass), small green caddy (food waste) then two white sacks for hard plastic bottles and cans….see what I can recycle

Cheshire West and Chester (CWAC) have a mix of 5 bins and boxes. In addition to what I can recycle in Flintshire, CWAC allows plastic food containers (not black), foil, tetra pack, clothes, shoes, batteries, cooking and engine oil, small electrical items, spectacles, empty printer cartridges and mobile phones… see info.  A lot of these items although I can’t recycle on the door step wouldn’t go in my land fill bin. The items that were being sent to landfill are tetra packs, foil and plastic food containers. I decided to start washing and collecting tetra packs and food containers and storing these in August and September. I also tried to reduce what I bought in plastic during September as part of my zero waste month. The rest of my family are the meat eaters and continued to buy plastic packaged food.

I even looked at the Recycle Now site to see where I could take it, the nearest being 17 miles away.

The Welsh Government has a target of Zero Waste by 2050, reducing landfill from 50% now, to 33% by 2025. Flintshire is reported as having one of the worst recycling results as of December 2015, is it any surprise when it’s Waste Management Strategy published on its web site is dated November 2009.

Press reported in April 16 that a solution to Flintshire County Council’s fines for not hitting targets is to fine side waste (any extra waste left out on the kerbside and not in a bin) and is even considering 3 weekly land fill bin collection. We are a family of 2/3 (depending on whether my son is away at university) plus Jake the Westie. My landfill bin before I started was generally full each fortnight and I’m a good recycler. I have reduced this to half or less each fortnight but only by reducing what I buy packaged and removing all the plastic over the last few months. I seriously think that if it isn’t already (I can’t find any evidence it is) Flintshire must improve its door step recycling more in line with that of CWAC.

IMG_4138 Waste.jpg
My two months of plastic, tetra pack and foil waste- even with September aim of zero waste

The Government must standardise its recycling throughout the UK, it must also press business to do more to reduce packaging. It’s all to easy to fine Council Tax payers but Local Council and the Government could and must do more.

Helen Tandy

PDF- Welsh Government Strategy Zero Waste 2010