29/09/07 – Free Plastic Collections
The response to Swindon’s new kerbside plastic bottle recycling service has been so positive that the council has decided to provide the service for free from the end of November.
Collection crews in the town are now picking up more than 70,000 plastic bottles, weighing more than two tonnes, every day. This means that 1,400,000 plastic bottles a month are being diverted from landfill.
The bottles are collected fortnightly in special plastic sacks, which normally cost 20p each. When the collections were launched on 23 July all households received four free bags to promote the service, and up to now they have been using these. Once the free bags were used up, it was planned that further bags would need to be purchased to continue to use the service.
It has now been decided that homes will receive a year’s supply of thirteen free bags – enough for one collection every month for a year – by the end of November. The council will continue to sell extra bags for 20p each for households that need more, from council and other designated outlets (the list is on the council website at
Cllr David Wren, Swindon Borough Council Cabinet Member for Local Environment said: “I’m very pleased with the support we’ve had from residents right across the town – the number of bottles we are collecting is simply astonishing.
“We are giving thirteen free bags to each household because we believe this will be enough for most people’s needs. We urge people to make sure the bags are full before they put them out for collection. The main thing is that we’re preventing more re-usable materials from being buried forever in landfill sites, and heading towards our target to recycle half of all household waste by 2010.”
The bottles need to be in the special bags because they are easy to tear open once picked up, and are made of the same material as the bottles so they can be recycled with them.
Virtually all of the Borough’s 80,000 households now receive a weekly comprehensive kerbside recycling service, along with fortnightly kerbside collections of plastic bottles and green garden waste. At present general waste is still collected weekly in black sacks, but this will be replaced by the fortnightly wheelie bin collection which begin on 5 November.
Since the start of the new comprehensive recycling service on 23 July, the total amount of recyclable waste collected from the kerbside across Swindon has doubled, from 150 tonnes to 300 tonnes a week.
Although I have always thought it was a great idea to provide kerbside plastic recycling in Swindon, as so few Councils across the country offer this service, I had reservations on charging 20p per bag for the service. I am pleased that this Conservative administration have listened to my comments and thoses from other Councillors and residents and have now changed this scheme to provide enough bags for people to use it free of charge.
Obviously if people need more bags, they can buy them, but I would urge them to consider their buying habbits and consider if they need to buy items with so much plastic packaging.