Purge on plastics in East Cambridgeshire reduces amount sent to landfill by 40 tonnes over the past year

Plastic waste sent to landfill reduced by 40 tonnes in East Cambridgeshire in one year. Picture: MAL

Plastic waste sent to landfill reduced by 40 tonnes in East Cambridgeshire in one year. Picture: MALI MAENDER. - Credit: Archant

A purge on reducing and recycling plastics in East Cambridgeshire has seen the amount sent to landfill reduced by 40 tonnes over the past year.

Seven hundred additional bins have been issued to residents in the district since April 2018 in a bid to meet a 60 per cent recycling rate.

Reusable bags, bottles, cups, printer toners – and even crisp packet recycling points – have all been added in council buildings.

It means that East Cambridgeshire District Council [ECDC] has recycled around 18 tonnes of waste over the past 12 months.

It forms part of their commitment to reducing the reliance on single-use plastics.

Highlights of the past year will be discussed at a meeting of the full council this Thursday (April 11) for their Purge on Plastics annual statement.

“As a council we have a commitment to achieve zero avoidable plastic waste by the end of 2042,” the report by Jo Brooks, director of operations, reads.

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“Efforts have been made by the council to ensure that both its employees and residents of its district have every opportunity to recycle the waste they create.

“Improvements to existing processes and the continuous education of both residents and collections crews has resulted in an average recycling rate of 57 per cent.

“The ongoing education of residents on the reduction of single use plastics and the constant improvements of the waste collection service, the council’s commitment to achieve a 60 per cent recycling rate and a contamination rate under five per cent for the district, will be met.”

Last year East Cambs Street Scene was setup as ECDC took back control of waste management from private contractors.

One of their first initiatives was to offer a second blue bin to households for a one-off fee of £25 – which more than 700 people have took up.

“This allowed residents to recycle all necessary waste they produced and assisted in the prevention of recyclable waste being landfilled,” Ms Brookes added.

In the city centre, Ely Markets has seen 45 per cent of customers now bring their own reusable cup for drinks after a #BringYourOwn campaign was launched last year.

Social media and “prodigious spokesperson” Michael Recycle has also helped residents and the younger generation understand more about reducing and recycling plastics.

Bosses say that an independent survey is now set to be carried out across certain parts of the district later this year to ensure that their performance is maintained.

Speaking at the time the motion was passed last April, Cllr Anna Bailey, said: “It is not the big sweeping gestures that will ultimately fix recycling problems; rather, it is the small, every day conscious acts carried out by individuals across East Cambs.”

However, Lid Dem leader Cllr Lorna Dupre criticised the initiative as “anything but ambitious”.

She suggested that an action place should be set up instead of an annual statement.