By Joe Locker, Local Democracy Reporter
A new strategy is aiming to double Nottingham’s poor recycling rates and reduce pollution equivalent to taking 1,200 cars off the roads every year.
Nottingham City Council is already ahead of national targets to send less than 10 per cent of waste to landfill, largely due to the Eastcroft incinerator.
But its local recycling rates have been worsening.
Figures show recycling hit a peak of 35 per cent in 2009/10, but this rate has been falling ever since.
As of 2021, rates had dropped as low as 23 per cent and “well below” the national average of 43.8 per cent.
To combat the problem the Labour-run authority has drawn up a new strategy to improve and move towards becoming carbon neutral by 2028.
Being carbon neutral means balancing the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere with the amount absorbed or removed.
The Municipal Resources and Waste Strategy for 2023 to 2050 will now be discussed during a Communities and Environment Scrutiny Committee on October 4.
“The Resources and Waste Management Strategy aims to deliver a high-quality service driven by the need to conserve resources, protect the local environment and reduce carbon emissions in line with the council’s carbon neutral policy for 2028 and beyond,” documents say.
“This means reducing the amount of waste that is generated; through prevention, reuse, repair, recycling and recovery.”
The poor recycling rates have been put down to a number of factors including a change in the definition of recycling materials, impacts of austerity, and in recent years the effects of the Covid pandemic.
One way the council is planning to improve its rates is through a new waste collection system.
Towards the end of last year, residents were asked whether they would prefer a twin stream method of collection or a multi-stream system.
Twin stream means residents will get containers for paper and card and a bin for their remaining recycling including glass, plastic and cartons.
These will be collected fortnightly.
Multi-stream will mean residents will get multiple containers for food waste, paper and card, as well as separate containers for each recycling material such as glass and plastic.
This method will require a new type of bin lorry and waste would be collected weekly.
More than 30 per cent of waste collected in Nottingham’s green bins is food waste and separate food waste containers would be provided in both cases.
A food waste trial involving 3,500 homes recently finished and the council says feedback was generally positive, the council says.
“The measures explored in developing this strategy show Nottingham’s recycling performance could increase from 23 per cent to 42 per cent through effective recycling and implementation of improved separation systems,” documents add.
“The ambitions adopted by this strategy demonstrate that a potential carbon
saving of 3,400 tonnes of CO2 per annum is achievable.
“National changes could drive separation and recycling in the city to over 50 per cent in the longer term as recycling is made easier and clearer.”
A saving of 3,400 tonnes of carbon dioxide is roughly equivalent to taking 1,200 cars off the roads in the city every year.
On top of this the council says as of 2021 the city has switched over 40 per cent of its fleet to electric vehicles and has a target to convert 100 per cent of its fleet to electric or renewable fuel fleet by 2028, in line with targets.
Among the electric fleets are over 130 vans, 50 cars, 14 cage tippers and eight street sweepers.
The council also operates eight electric waste collection vehicles and the fleet
is due to expand further to 20 electric bin lorries out of a total 29.