Recycle bins on our high streets

November 9, 2007 at 8:40 am

With the UK still possessing one of the lowest recycle rates in Europe, 2007 has been a big year for Gordon Brown‘s new government in terms of environmental and recycling initiatives. One of the latest ideas has come in the form of special ‘recycling bins’ being dotted along our high streets, next to the normal litter bins, clearly marked with what recyclable waste one can deposit. The bins aren’t only planned for the high streets themselves but all public areas around towns such as car parks, recreation grounds, entertainment venues and shopping precincts.

The idea has come out of the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and their scheme this year called Recycle on the Go. Launched in Aug 2007, the scheme proposes a ‘voluntary code of practice’, as outlined in The Waste Strategy for England 2007 and is focused on encouraging and improving recycling in all public areas.

There have been ideas such as colour-coded bins, to help people understand where and what to recycle, but all of these initiatives will have to be taught to all of the individual owners of the public (or rather private) areas in our towns and cities. Advice will be available from Defra, who are working with the environment charity Encams, but one of the more obvious hurdles for this idea is where the funding will come from.

Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Environment Board Paul Bettison was sceptical, “The government have come up with this as a good idea but my concern is they have given no increase of assistance with funding.”

Techniques such as this are not a new idea in the UK and certainly not in Europe. Already a number of UK towns and cities have adopted methods to encourage their residents to recycle on the move.

  • In Norwich city centre there are a number of recycling bins and the local council plan to increase them to every street corner.
  • There are ‘commuter bins’ in the centre of London for all the thousands of free daily newspapers generated in rush-hour.
  • In Manchester airport there are similar bins for all types of waste.
  • In Chester they have designated ‘green spaces’ in the town to recycle waste around the river and park areas.
  • Bins already in operation in the London borough of Camden are likely to be a good bench-mark for the rest of the country. There are over 50 bins dotted around the borough; all made from 100% recycled plastic themselves and accepting all kinds of paper, cans, glass and plastic bottles.

The British public often generate as much rubbish when out and about as they do at home, so this idea seems to make perfect sense. It might all boil down to finding funding for it though, or it might be more about the local councils and landowners making the services easily available and understandable. Then again, it’s more likely to prove a success or failure if we, the public, make an effort to find these bins and actually use them.

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One response to “Recycle bins on our high streets”

  1. Mercy says:

    I think that will be a great idea. The sooner put into place the better.

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