Plastic isn't fantastic for Sheffield recycling

Sheffield's new brown bins can't accept all plastic to recycle
Sheffield's new brown bins can't accept all plastic to recycle

Sheffield Council has defended its recycling rates saying it’s the best in South Yorkshire.

Labour has come under fire over the new brown bins, which are replacing the old blue boxes and will be used to recycle plastic, glass and tin cans.

The Lib Dems say Labour missed an opportunity because the new bins won’t be able to accept all plastic items. They have started an online petition calling for a “massive expansion” of recycling in Sheffield.

Lib Dem Parliamentary candidate Laura Gordon said: “At the moment, kerbside recycling only covers plastic bottles, glass and paper. This needs to be expanded to cover items such as yoghurt pots, carrier bags, margarine tubs, food trays and bottle tops.

“These items can be recycled just a few miles down the road in Chesterfield, but not here - we need to do better. The Lib Dem petition to improve recycling already has over 1,300 signatures in just a few days, and this was before the council announced their cuts to recycling collections.”

But Labour councillor Karen McGowan said: “The true fact is we send less than on per cent of our household waste to landfill, recovering a value from the remaining 99 percent.

“Our dry recycling rate - this is glass, cans, plastics, paper and cardboard and other materials we collect for recycling - is actually the best in South Yorkshire. Sheffield is 26.9 percent with Doncaster the lowest at 19.47 per cent.

“As the paper and card is collected at a different time to glass, cans and plastic bottles there is a need for fewer vehicles and recycling will now only need to go to one location saving over £750,000.

“Not only this but Veolia have a new fleet of vehicles which have electric bin lifts meaning this is a quieter and more efficient and reduces fuel consumption and emissions.”

And if people are wondering what to do with their old blue box, Crookesmoor resident Tom Kistell has an idea.

He’s asking people in S10 to join together and create a community recycling service. He’s set up a facebook page where people can take it in turns to car share and take plastic to supermarket recycling bins.

Tom said: “I’ve got an idea that I hope a few of us might try - use the blue box to gather your cleaned Tetra Pak, then get together with friends and neighbours to take it in turns to drive it down to Waitrose car park for recycling.

“That way, we’ll hopefully cut down on the number of car trips and make Sheffield an ever-so-slightly less polluted place. I know this is a drop in the ocean, but everything significant is made up of lots of smaller, seemingly insignificant things.

“The more we can demonstrate that there is demand for Tetra Pak recycling in Sheffield, the more likely it is that Veolia will realise it could be profitable for them to put bins in other places around the city, and the council might even start kerbside collection.”

Search Facebook for The Sheffield Blue Box Recycling Club.