Sheffield recyclers to be rewarded in waste shake-up proposals

Bin men emptying domestic waste bins
Bin men emptying domestic waste bins

KEEN recyclers being rewarded with shopping vouchers for their efforts is one of the changes being considered as part of a proposed shake-up of Sheffield Council’s waste service.

Black bins could get smaller - and blue bins and blue boxes could be replaced with one single, larger bin to make sorting different recycling items easier.

But some of the plans under discussion at the Town Hall would cost extra money - so are unlikely ever to be implemented when the council is having to cut rather than increase its spending.

Current waste management costs Sheffield Council £27.7 million, including £9.4 million for collection.

Some £11.8 million is spent disposing of black bin waste, £5 million is spent on recycling, and £1.5 million goes towards green waste collections.

Council officers say making black bins smaller - from a 240 litre capacity to 180 litres - could boost recycling and cut the amount of rubbish for disposal.

But there are fears the change could increase the amount of fly-tipping if people have too much rubbish to fit in their bin.

An ‘incentive scheme’ is also on the table, to encourage recycling. Households would receive shopping vouchers as a reward for the amount they recycle.

But the idea is unlikely - because it would involve installing microchips in each bin to measure the contents, and the chips would cost £2 million.

Part of the cost could be covered, however, by the council’s income from selling recyclables - which brought in around £500,000 last year.

Officers say another option could be cutting recycling collections from fortnightly to every four weeks, to halve the cost.

But the danger is that could reduce recycling rates.

And allowing people to choose which recyclable items to put in blue bins and boxes would cost £500,000 a year once the scheme is extended across the city - although the roll-out could be axed to save money.

Another idea is to swap the existing 140 litre blue bins and boxes to a single, larger wheelie bin of 240 litres - something which would cost almost £900,000 for all Sheffield’s 244,000 households.

City-wide green waste bins and composters are also revealed as an option for consideration - but the bins and machines would cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to buy.