As a city council, we are committed to recycle where possible- it’s important we all take steps to protect our planet. As with many councils across the country, the pandemic has had an impact on our waste teams and on residents recycling habits. For example, some areas of the city have seen increases in side waste and poor recycling. However, we have carried out a number of recent interventions that are increasing and promoting recycling rates in Stoke-on-Trent. Waste key workers also heroically carried on collecting our rubbish while the world slowed down around them.
We have worked extensively with local partners, including community groups and educational establishments to address questions around waste service provision, raise awareness of recycling and arrange litter picks in the local area. Representatives from waste also attended a multi-departmental day in one of our local parks last September to showcase our services and vehicles. This event gave members of the public the opportunity to see our recycling trailer, allowing them to understand more about the importance of recycling and how it is carried out.
A contamination database (extracted from Bartec software) uses pivot tables that can be used to rank streets and areas from greatest to least contaminated recycling bins, or filter by highest to lowest type of contaminant in recycling bins. This allows targeted work by area or type of contamination.
By engaging with local communities, we have also improved waste collection and recycling rates. For example, a recent trial on several streets saw domestic properties have their 180l wheelie bins removed and replaced with 6 x 1100 litre containers for general waste and 3 x 770 litre containers for recycling. The containers were located at 3 agreed communal collections points. The trial project, implemented in November 2021, has been very successful and will continue for the foreseeable future.
A number of communication channels, including social media and email bulletins, have also been used to promote effective recycling to residents. We have informed residents on sustainable practices and how to reduce, re-use and recycle. This includes information on recycling Halloween pumpkins, keeping batteries out of household waste to prevent fires and a campaign for Recycling Week 2021.
There is always further work to be done to educate the public on how to recycle more and effectively to reduce contamination. As a city council we will continue to engage with residents and local partners to further increase recycling amongst our residents.