The latest figures from the government reveal that York increased its recycling rate in the latest period for which statistics are available (2019/20)
The figures are revealed as the Council agonises over plans to introduce 3 weekly recycling collections. The proposal attracted a large number of comments (22,000) when residents views were sought.
The Council perhaps needs to look a little further at waste volumes in the City and how they can be controlled.
As the graph indicates, total waste produced – despite an increasing population – has remained fairly static over the last decade. The volume going to the Allerton Waste Recovery Centre (and, before 2018, landfill) has also been fairly steady.
The role of the commercial and voluntary sectors in mopping up unwanted articles cannot be under-estimated. Clothing banks are widespread and these are supplemented by doorstep collections.
Surplus food giveaways are gaining in popularity while “Freecycle” style schemes are encouraging more reuse of many household items.
It’s 10 years since the Council abandoned its plans for a salvage and reuse site. Perhaps its time to revive that project?
In the meantime, some attention to the effects of lockdown in the City is needed.
Nationally lockdown 1 saw both the volume and composition of household waste shift to levels seen during a “traditional Christmas period”, with some local authorities seeing a 30% increase in dry recycling volume. With many people working from home and businesses reducing their output, especially in the hospitality sector, more plastic and glass in particular has been sent for recycling from households.
Not surprisingly there was a reduction in commercial waste volumes.
What the long term effects of more people working from home will be needs to be factored into the York Councils forward planning.