Manchester: Consigning landfill to the bin

How do you get people to recycle more of their household waste? Change the size of their bins and bring in a “closed lid” policy! At least, that’s what is planned for Manchester.

In order to bring down its landfill costs, which currently stand at a staggering £32 million per year, Manchester City Council is taking action on household waste. The local authority plans to increase the size of its blue and brown recycling bins, and reduce the size of replacement black bins.

The Manchester Evening News reports that, if approved, the plans will mean that the city’s residents will have more than double the space to pack in their paper and glass. These two types of recyclable waste go into the blue and brown bins, respectively.

Less volume will be available for other domestic waste, which goes into the black bin, when its size is shrunk from 240 to 180 litres – or, in some south Manchester areas, possibly even 120 litres!

Manchester is performing relatively well in terms of recycling, diverting 37% of its waste from landfill. But the council wants to save over half a million pounds in the next two years by cutting landfill even further. In addition to changing bin sizes, it is considering a closed lid policy, where overfilled bins would not be collected.

The local authority’s action plan has already begun with the removal of any “unauthorised” black bins at north and central Manchester properties, and this process will continue in south Manchester in the weeks to come.

At Recycling Lives, we approve of Manchester City Council’s plan to improve its recycling rate. Changing the size of the bins will make people think about what they are throwing away and whether it can be recycled, and because the local authority will be saving money on landfill costs, the proposals will benefit all the residents of Manchester.

Our own operations are dedicated to reusing and recycling as much waste as possible, and diverting waste from landfill. As a social business, we have a Corporate Social Responsibility agenda that ensures our policies are geared towards minimising waste. This is because it is good for the environment – but waste is also a valuable resource!

We have developed innovative manufacturing processes to convert waste materials into useful products. We take plastic polymers and turn them into beams, which can be used in the construction industry; we also turn waste glass into tiles for kitchens and bathrooms.

These processes, along with all our other operations, provide people with work to do. This means that we are boosting the local economy, and adding social value to local communities in the process by ensuring we engage with people in a variety of ways. For example, we help start-up enterprises with our “business incubators”, offering guidance and facilities.

Another way we add social value is through our social welfare charity, which helps homeless people to find work and accommodation. They undertake work placements on our sites as part of their journey back to independence, through which they are given support with a six-stage programme. Many Residents find permanent work with our social business.

Who would have thought that reducing landfill and increasing recycling could be so rewarding? The citizens of Manchester are about to find out when they get their new bins!