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Bin collection changes on cards for Wrexham to boost recycling

CHANGES to bin collections could be on the cards in Wrexham as the local authority looks to improve recycling rates.

The county borough was previously ranked as one of the best performing areas in Wales for recycling, achieving a rate of just under 70 per cent in 2019/20.

However, since the Covid-19 pandemic, the most recent figure covering the first three quarters of 2023/24 has reduced to around 64 per cent.

It has seen Wrexham’s ranking for recycling rates drop from fourth out of the 22 local authority areas in Wales to 17th.

Wrexham Council said there were several reasons for the dip in performance, including changes in the behaviour of residents and alterations to packaging.

The Welsh Government’s recycling target for local authorities is set to increase during the next financial year from 65 to 70 per cent.

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Officials in Wrexham have warned the council could face a fine of £660,000 unless its performance improves and changes are made in 2024/25.

In a report going to backbench councillors next week, Cllr Terry Evans, lead member for environment, said: “Recycling performance has dipped during and since the Covid-19 pandemic, with 2023/24 being at 64.26 per cent.

“This can be attributed to a wide range of factors, including changing behaviour, changes in packaging, seasonal variations impacting certain waste-streams, restrictions at household recycling centres and an overall reduction in waste arising.

“Wrexham Council have taken a number of actions in order to improve recycling and reduce waste and continue to work hard to do this.

“Despite these efforts we continue to see a large volume of recyclable items placed in the residual waste bin.”

The report highlights that Wrexham provides the largest size of black bins out of all the authorities in Wales at 240 litres, alongside Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent.

Cllr Evans said it meant the council currently collects twice the recommended volume of residual waste per household, with the likes of Newport offering just 120 litres.

Wrexham also provides a fortnightly collection service, whereas some other councils have moved to either three-weekly or even monthly collections.

Recyclable materials are collected weekly with residents provided with boxes to separate plastic, glass and metal, along with bags for paper and cardboard and caddies for food waste.

However, Cllr Evans said collection arrangements may need to be revised to meet the 70 per cent government target.

He added: “There are a number of significant changes ahead in terms of waste and recycling, some of which will have significant impact on our recycling performance.

“In order to address these challenges, WCBC will need to consider making a number of changes to ensure that the waste and recycling service is sustainable, meeting its statutory obligations, improving the environment and avoiding increased costs and financial penalties.”

Possible solutions outlined in the report include:

  • Consider changes to kerbside arrangements which remove the opportunity for people to put recyclable waste in their black/blue bin
  • Consider opportunities to restrict particular waste-streams at household recycling centres
  • Continue to identify and address barriers to recycling (eg flats and apartments)
  • Changing trade waste arrangements in line with new legislation
  • Continue communications with the public about recycling, and local arrangements
  • Further kerbside participation surveys, and other public engagement

The report will be discussed by members of Wrexham’s homes and environment scrutiny committee on Wednesday (March 13, 2024).