Last minute u-turn delays glass recycling plan across Kirklees

The return of kerbside glass collections in Kirklees has been delayed.

The move comes just three months after the council revealed that it would resume glass bottle and jar collections from homes in 2021/22.

Instead the recycling service may not now happen until around 2025 – more than ten years after the authority scrapped its four-weekly kerbside collections of glass to save £234,000 a year.

The council intends to start a trial of glass collections at the kerbside in November 2022 with the aim of relaunching the service over the following four years.

Glass recycling has been delayed

Officers said the delay was necessary as looming government legislation signalled the introduction of a deposit return scheme for glass, which could reduce the demand at recycling centres.

There has been widespread support from people in Kirklees for glass collections but some have said it is impossible for them to find space for yet another bin.

The council is now looking at a split service, with some homes using bins for glass whilst others use smaller “caddies” that fit inside existing green recycling bins.

Speaking at a meeting of the Economy and Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Panel the council’s head of operational services, Will Acornley, said there was a definite commitment to the glass collection trial but that the content of the forthcoming Environment Bill was creating uncertainty.

He said pushing ahead at the present time would be “unwise”.

He said: “The Environment Bill will bring in a deposit return scheme, which could potentially see that glass stream significantly reduce. What we wouldn’t want to do is push ahead with significant infrastructure investment that’s then carrying air.

“That’s not good for people or the budgets.

“We want to see the trial, understand what is being produced, see the impact of what the Environment Bill brings and then make an evidence-based decision.

“It may be that we take a different approach to different areas.”

Over the next 18 months the council has ambitions to evolve its resource and waste strategy to introduce a new bulky waste system, a composting scheme, and an improved response to the scourge of fly-tipping.

There are also plans to “rationalise” the number of litter bins across the borough, which currently number more than 8,000.

The authority is also nearing the end of its 25-year contract with French-owned firm Suez, which, though cheap, means certain items recycled by local authorities in other areas go into the grey bin in Kirklees.

Mr Acornley said the contract was “visionary” when it was introduced in 1998 and that the borough recycled 34% of its waste but that Kirklees’ recycling rate had since been “leap-frogged” by other council areas.

He added that “even 34% these days would be considered low. The average is 45% now nationally. So we do have some catching up to do.”

There was criticism for the aspirational nature of the council’s plans from panel co-optee Chris Friend, who said the outline strategy lacked specifics, key performance indicators and “measurable objectives”.

That was backed by Coun Robert Iredale (Lib Dem, Golcar) who said “the devil is in the detail and we don’t have a lot of the nitty-gritty here.”

Another co-optee, Andrew Bird, said the strategy lacked ambition and that it was “catching up” with other authorities.

However Mr Acornley said caution represented the right approach.