Recycling – changes on their way?

The government has announced plans to try to increase the proportion of items which are recycled. They are promising a weekly collection of food waste although how expensive this might be, and what impact it may have on the operation of the North Yorkshire waste incinerator, remains to be explained.

Rightly the government is focusing on plastics. There is still  much more that can be done to take plastics out of the waste stream. One idea is to make sellers responsible for the recycling of packaging.

In York we have seen at least one step backwards in recent years as shops like Cartridge World have ceased trading. Most toner cartridge sales are now made over the internet with few companies offering a return service of single empty cartridges.

The York Councils “A to Z” of recycling lists only one outlet where empty cartridges can be taken for reuse (Office Outlet on Foss Island Road ) although there are other like Tesco on Tadcaster Road which are not publicised.

It really does little to help the environment if people must drive several miles to recycle relatively small items

The Council needs to update its web site and modernise signage at Hazel Court.

The plan to establish a Reuse and Salvage centre also needs to be revived. It was scrapped by the Labour controlled Council in 2011.

A more enthusiastic approach to using street scrap merchants might also result in less waste.

BBC stats indicating the percentage of plastics by type which are currently recycled

Recycling levels stable in York. Plans to deal with plastic waste

An interesting report to a Council committee meeting which is taking place next week reveals that around 43% of the waste generated in the City is either recycled or composted. The percentage has remained constant over the last 5 years. Around 11,000 tonnes were collected at the kerbside last year

The total weight of rubbish generated last year rose to 83,575 tonnes but is still less than the 2015 peak of 87,069 tonnes

The net cost of kerbside recycling collections is put at £1.2 million per annum

Residual waste from York is now incinerated.


The report tackles the vexed issue of plastics recycling. It says,

“Mixed plastic is a term that covers all non-bottle plastic packaging from households. It includes rigid and flexible plastic packaging items of various polymer types and colours and excludes plastic bottles and nonpackaging items.

At the moment plastic bottles are the only plastic material officially accepted in our kerbside recycling collection. They are made of high-grade plastic material PET1 (Polyethylene Terephthalate) and HDPE2 (High Density Polyethylene) which have consistently strong recycling markets in which to sell the material. Mixed plastic, however, can be poorer quality and dirty. These factors, coupled with the instability of the recycling markets, has meant that it has previously not been possible to consider introducing mixed plastics to the existing kerbside recycling collection.

Some mixed plastic is already put into the recycling boxes by residents and we collect it. This low level of ‘contamination’ material is currently acceptable to our contractor (Yorwaste Ltd) because our recycling is mixed with other recycling, thus reducing the overall percentage of contamination.

Black plastic doesn’t reflect light, so cannot be seen and sorted by the scanners in the recycling facility and could end up contaminating other materials such as glass bottles.”


The report also seeks to explain why it sometimes appears that items separated for recycling are all put into the same compartment in the bin lorry.

When collecting recycling some crews tip boxes of recycling into separate wheelie bins, once the wheelie bin is full it is then emptied into the relevant compartment in the refuse collection vehicle .There is a perception from some residents that comingling is taking place when it isn’t, as they just see recycling boxes being tipped into a wheelie bin and then into what they think is an ordinary refuse vehicle, not one with separate compartments. We have therefore introduced different coloured wheelie bins for tins/plastic and cardboard/paper.

The report says that some comingled recycling is transported to a processing centre at Seamer Carr.

There are only limited markets for such material and the processing cost (including transfer) for dealing with such material is c.£65 per tonne and we receive no income, we are currently comingling around 320 tonnes per month.

Latest on waste collection in York

Important service update

Today crews have collected all scheduled household, recycling and garden waste and also collected the remaining garden waste bins in Middlethorpe

We have been able to access and clear all waste from Westwood Terrace today. We were not able to get into Jennifer Grove again (because of badly parked cars) and will re visit on Saturday.

We hope to collect any remaining garden waste towards the end of the week and continue into Saturday. If your bin has not been collected please leave it in place and we will collect it as soon as we can. Thank you for your patience.


Update on waste collection in York

Important service update: Today crews have collected all scheduled household, recycling and garden waste and also…

Posted by City of York Council Waste Services on Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Starting home composting is easier than ever

As part of International Compost Awareness Week, from 6 to 12 May, North Yorkshire County Council and the City of York Council are encouraging residents to start composting with a fantastic offer in partnership with

Residents can buy discounted compost bins online from £8 plus £5.99 delivery for a 220- litre home compost bin and when ordering online they can take advantage of a “buy one get one half price” offer.

As well as taking online and phone orders, on Friday, 11 May, the authorities will launch home compost bin sales from selected household waste recycling centres. These are: Wetherby Road, Harrogate; Malton; Northallerton; Seamer Carr; Selby; Skipton; Whitby; and Hazel Court, York.

York and North Yorkshire residents will be able to buy a 330-litre home compost bin for £10. Bins are limited to two per household and residents must take proof of their address. Visit for opening hours.

The national Waste Resources Action Programme estimates that use of a home compost bin diverts about 150kg of waste per household from waste bins each year. It is simple to do and much daily household waste can be recycled. It’s also a cheaper alternative to chargeable garden waste collections and has the benefit of producing free top-quality compost for use as a soil improver, mulch or plant feed.

To order online, visit or call 0844 571 4444, quoting reference YNY08L. As well as compost bins, food waste digesters and hot composters are available for food waste.

City of York Councillor Andrew Waller, deputy leader and executive member for the environment, said: “Composting is an easy, effective way to reduce the waste going to landfill and at the same time help your garden.

“This scheme is another great incentive in our drive to support our residents to reduce, reuse and recycle even more of York’s waste.”

Changes to recycling collections starts from Monday

Changing chameleon with text

Around a third of all households in York will see their collection day for recycling changed from this Monday (3 April).

Areas affected include Foxwood, Askham Lane and Front Street.

To check when your next collection is, visit:

You can also get alerts sent straight to your phone to remind you of your next collection day by downloading the free One Planet York app.

As a result of the review, all collection times will now vary. So all households, even if they are not changing day, must present their household waste, green garden waste bins and recycling on the kerbside by 7am on the morning of their collection

Cllr Andrew Waller, executive member for the environment, said: “We have made these changes so that we can give recycling a boost. This will improve how we use our vehicles and ensure our staff have the resources to bring new services for even more residents.

“We have been working with residents in the months leading up to the changes, and have provided free boxes, lids and nets for residents who have requested these,  in the areas changing over to help people to do more.

“Improving recycling levels will reduce landfill tax to enable more council funds to be used on frontline services. This will link with campaigns such as the community recycling fund across the whole city to encourage a higher recycling rate.

“We also want to remind all residents, even if they are not changing their day of collection that the time of their collections may alter.”

These changes will make our waste service more efficient and cost effective. By reorganising our collection routes we will be able to include York’s new housing developments and homes without having to allocate additional resources. The service will also save approximately £400k, reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and enable the roll out of recycling collections to rural areas of the city that don’t currently have them.

Rubbish (grey bin/black bags) and garden waste (green bin) collections are not affected by the changes.

In addition to the review in recycling rounds, we will also ensure our kerbside recycling collection service runs at full capacity.

We’ll replace old failing vehicles with new ones, which will reduce the need to mix the contents of the recycling boxes (which happens when we used replacement vehicles). This is known as comingling recycling and in 2015/16 over 2,900 tonnes was mixed, which cost the council around £200k to separate (compared to if it was already separated).

We’ll also ensure waste vehicles in terraced areas are replaced with more economical vehicles. This change means that a much higher proportion of council employees will be permanent and as such more familiar with the collection rounds.

A second phase of the review of waste services will take place next year and will look at rubbish collections (grey bins/black bags) and green waste collections. It will focus mainly on the opportunities we can take following the introduction of the new waste vehicles in 2018/19.

Households affected by the changes were sent new rubbish and recycling calendars in early March – well in advance of the changes taking place. For more information visit

The changes were approved at a council meeting (decision session) on Monday 9 January. To view a copy of the report visit:

Major changes to recycling collection days in Foxwood, York Road and Wetherby Road areas from 1st April

Around a third of all households in York will have their collection day for recycling changed from 3rd April.

Streets in Westfield affected by the changes to recycling collection days

Households affected by the changes can expect to receive a new rubbish and recycling calendar in the post from 6 March – well in advance of the changes taking place.

The change – which means that recycling will be collected on a different day from green/grey bin emptying – could cause confusion in the affected areas.

The Council has previously promised to renew recycling boxes, lids and nets for those residents who need them. A stock is expected to be available for collection from the Foxwood Community Centre at its relaunch day on Saturday 1st April.

For the first few weeks at least a call back service is expected to be made available to cover missed collections.

The Council says that more information is now available online. This includes a list of all households affected so you can see whether or not your recycling collection day is changing at: .

At the moment the Council has not said on which day recycling will be collected in these areas.

The Council says  “If your household is affected and you do not receive your calendar by mid-March please contact the council’s waste services team on 01904 551551 or 

These changes will make our waste service more efficient and cost effective. By reorganising our collection routes we will be able to include York’s new housing developments and homes without having to allocate additional resources.

The service will also save approximately £400,000 reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and enable the roll out of recycling collections to rural areas of the city that don’t currently have them”.

As a result of the review collection times will vary so all households (even if they are not changing day ) are reminded that they must present their household waste and recycling on the kerbside by 7am on the morning of their collection.

Rubbish (grey bin/black bags) and garden waste (green bin) collections are not affected by the changes. 

You can get alerts sent straight to your phone to remind you of your next collection day by downloading the free One Planet York app. To download the app visit the Apple app store or the Google Play Store.

Rubbish and recycling collections in York over Christmas and New Year

christmas-tree-recycling-trash-fl-560x400All households in York will have a rubbish collection the week before and the week after Christmas (weeks beginning 19 December and 2 January).

There are no rubbish or recycling collections during the week beginning 26 December.

We are also taking extra festive recycling too including greeting cards, paper, wrapping paper (non foil), cardboard, plastic bottles, tins or glass. All you need to do is place them in separate untied clear bags or open boxes with your recycling, or simply take them to a recycling site.

Real Christmas trees and wreaths can also be taken to our recycling sites at Hazel Court HWRC or Towthorpe HWRC.

It’s important that your bins or boxes are presented by 7am on the day of your collection, but no earlier than 7pm the evening before.

To check your collection dates visit . Rubbish and recycling calendars have been sent to all households and can also be downloaded via the ‘refuse look up’ link. Or, to get alerts sent direct to your phone to remind you of your next collection day download the free One Planet York app.

If you live in the city centre and St Nick’s collects your recycling, you will receive details about those service changes soon.  Collections due on Monday 26 December will be done Thursday 29 December and collections due on Tuesday 27 December will be done Friday 30 December.All other days will be as normal.

To find out more about what can be recycled and where, visit:

Waste Collection arrangements in York for this winter

The Council, has started to deliver a leaflet detailing waste collection arrangements for the winter.

Waste leaflet winter 16 17 page 2 Any residents who don’t receive one before the end of the month should contact the Council direct.

You can find out details of your collection dates by clicking here

The calendars also contain information about the final garden waste collections of the year and Christmas collections. The calendars will be available next week to download via the refuse look up tool on the weWaste leaflet winter 16 17bsite

Liberal Democrats – as part of the Joint Executive running York – reintroduced 2 green bin collections over the winter. We are now pushing on with our One Planet York programme as we aim to boost recycling. As part of this, the council is encouraging everyone to sign up to the new One Planet York Waste App  to get bin collection notifications direct to your smartphone.

Students, rubbish and recycling


Student WasteA review of the way that students dispose of their rubbish in York has been published.

It is fair to say that the accumulation of piles of rubbish in areas with a high student population has been a cause of friction in the past. This usually peaks at the end of term when students move out.

Issues have included:

  • rubbish and recycling put out at the wrong time/day/place
  • waste not properly disposed of at the end of term/end of year
  • complaints from other residents about waste issues
  • low levels of recycling

rubbish-monk-bar-car-parkIt is likely that areas with a large student population may be targeted to increase recycling. A move from black sacks to the use of wheeled bins may also be considered.

In 2014 and 2015 dedicated end of year clear out programmes took place in both areas of student housing, co-ordinated by the Smarter York and NE officers. These involved the following activities:

  • Leaflets delivered to all affected student households in May detailing the options for recycling/reuse/disposal of waste
  • Extra rubbish and recycling collections organised on designated dates/times for both housing areas (in 2014 there were 4 extra dates, in 2015 there was one extra date)
  • Charity reuse banks sited in key locations and students encouraged to donate suitable items: Monk Bar Car Park corner of Kent Street and Barbican Road, corner of Garrow Hill Avenue, Jaipur Spice Car Park, Londis at Penleys Grove Street
  • Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) – students with student union cards are allowed take waste to Hazel Court using van/trailer without the need to apply for permits. Use will be monitored by staff at the HWRC to ensure that valid student union cards for the York learning establishments are only accepted and that the number of occasions each student uses the service is reasonable.