Southampton Street, Elgar Road and Pell Street singled out for rubbish treatment

Waste and rubbish collection services in Reading are struggling to meet targets set for recycling and Reading Borough Council (RBC) will target four areas where contaminated recycling bins are an ongoing problem.

The RBC housing, neighbourhoods and leisure committee heard plans for the trial of a new scheme in four areas; two off Oxford Road, one off Wokingham Road and the fourth comprising Southampton Street, Elgar Road and Pell Street in Katesgrove.

The scheme is aimed at tackling the large number of recycling (red) bins that are not collected because they are contaminated by waste that cannot be recycled. RBC say that:

The most persistent issues are in properties where there are tenants living in individual rooms.

The proposed process to deal with the problem is that bin men will report contaminated bins at the end of a collection round and then:

  • addresses will be visited by the waste minimisation officer who will provide information verbally or in writing,
  • if the bin is still contaminated when the next collection takes place, a letter will be sent to all residents registered at the property advising them that the recycling bin could be taken away,
  • if the bin is still contaminated after the third collection, residents will be told that the recycling bin will be taken away.

The waste minimisation officer will visit the property on the day the recycling bin is taken away and residents who want to recycle individually will be given boxes or bags for their personal use.

The situation will be monitored at properties where recycling bins have been taken away, and new or replacement recycling bins will not be delivered to these addresses.

The number of contaminated recycling bins has reduced since the new waste collection arrangements came into force on 13 February 2017.  5.5% of bins were not collected in the first week, 9.2% in week two, 1.2% in week 27 and 2.5% in week 28.

RBC say:

Resources are an issue for waste minimisation work and the delivery of the waste minimisation strategy. campaigns, door knocking and domestic waste audits are beyond the capacity of the team and work streams are focussing on the ‘day to day’ business of running the waste service.

This was the last agenda item for the committee and almost passed without comment until Liz Terry, lead councillor for neighbourhoods, hinted at some new recycling initiatives in the new year and said [at 2:23:00]:

If you would just put the right things in the right bin at the right time that would make life a whole lot easier for everybody.

Whitley Pump opinion
  • This scheme sounds very labour intensive for streetcare staff at a time when RBC say that resources are an issue.
  • To be successful in the long term, the process should include landlords and their agents who manage properties as well as tenants who may only live in the property for a short period.
  • If red bins are removed, the result is likely to be overfilled grey bins, more fly-tipping and using public litter bins for household waste.

  1. Housing, neighbourhcood and leisure committee 15 November 2017 papers and webcast
  2. Window envelopes can go in recycling – but bin collection changes will be challenging
  3. Reading’s rubbish epidemic
  4. Bin collection day changes