Residents in Kirklees, West Yorkshire, have demonstrated their commitment to recycling by significantly increasing their plastic waste recycling since the introduction of plastic pots, tubs, and trays (PTT) to kerbside collections last year. According to recent data, approximately 157 tonnes more plastic has been recycled by residents since the implementation of PTTs.

The decision to introduce PTTs to kerbside collections was made in response to feedback received from residents during the Waste Strategy consultation conducted by the local authorities. This marked the first addition to kerbside recycling in over a decade, allowing residents to conveniently dispose of items such as yoghurt pots, margarine tubs, food trays, and other plastic products alongside paper, tins, and plastic bottles in their green bins.

The inclusion of PTTs has resulted in a remarkable 30% increase in plastic recycling over the past two years. This positive development showcases the proactive efforts of Kirklees residents in reducing plastic waste and contributing to a more sustainable future.

Despite this progress, contamination remains a concern in the recycling process. A single improperly sorted bin can potentially contaminate an entire wagonload of recyclables. Even seemingly harmless contaminants like plastic bags can cause disruptions and damage if they become entangled in the recycling machinery. To address this issue, the Waste team is currently reviewing the contamination procedures to ensure clarity for residents regarding what is permissible in their green bins. Additionally, they aim to provide further support to residents in their recycling efforts.

The introduction of PTTs forms just one aspect of Kirklees’ long-term waste reduction strategy. The local authorities have implemented various initiatives to establish Kirklees as a frontrunner among local authorities in waste management. These include the Recycling Champions scheme, a reuse shop in Huddersfield, a new bookable bulky waste collection system, and a recycling service for commercial Trade Waste customers. These endeavours have already been yielding positive outcomes for residents, schools, and businesses throughout Kirklees.

Councillor Naheed Mather, Cabinet Member for Culture and Greener Kirklees, expressed her satisfaction with the increased recycling rates since the introduction of PTTs. Comparing the recycling figures from the past two years, she highlighted the remarkable achievement of recycling an additional 157.41 tonnes, which is heavier than the average blue whale. She commended the residents for embracing the opportunity to make Kirklees a cleaner and greener place to live.

However, Councillor Masood Ahmed, Cabinet Member for the Environment, emphasised the persistent issue of contamination in recycling efforts across Kirklees. He expressed concern about some residents either being unaware or neglecting the proper sorting of waste in their green bins. Items such as nappies and food waste can lead to entire wagonloads of recycling being rejected. To address this challenge, the authorities are exploring methods to better educate and support residents in effective recycling practices.

Councillor Mather encouraged everyone to go beyond recycling and adopt a comprehensive waste reduction approach by prioritising waste reduction and reuse in addition to recycling. Subscribing to the Recycling Bulletin is recommended for those seeking recycling tips and guidance.

With the success of the PTT introduction, Kirklees is making significant strides towards its goal of achieving a zero-waste future, ensuring a cleaner and more sustainable environment for all.