On one hand it’s a good thing the Council is promoting recycling more, in an attempt to boost recycling figures. It makes sense for the environment and also economically, as it reduces the amount of tax we pay for sending stuff to landfill.
On the other hand I can’t help but feel that part of the reason the Council feel the need to promote their ‘overlooked’ recyclables more is because of the complexity of the recycling system we have in Bradford, the likes of which I’ve not seen in other areas.
For instance, it used to be that you couldn’t recycle envelopes with ‘windows’ in them, but now you can. However, you still can’t recycle brown envelopes because of the type of gum used. So what envelopes do the council use? Brown!
Similarly, you can recycle thin grey cardboard, like on frozen pizza boxes, but not any other type of cardboard. The thing is it was only in the last year or so that the council actually advertised this, I was told by my councillor that you could recycle thin white card over two years ago, but it wasn’t on any literature.
Finally, I only found out I could recycle aerosol cans when I got a letter from the bin men saying people in the area were recycling the wrong items and included a list of recyclable items. Again it hadn’t been on any literature I had received, and I say that as a keen recycler who looks out for these sorts of things. What chance does a harried parent have who is busy with other things?
I appreciate two things the council has to deal with:
- Introducing more items over time that can be recycled leads to some people inevitably not knowing what can be recycled.
- Making recycling cost-effective is difficult and sometimes if the answer is a more fiddly recycling system then so be it.
The problem is that the things under their control have not been handled properly.
They shouldn’t be sending out things in brown envelopes when they can’t be recycled. They haven’t previously advertised properly what can and cannot be recycled, and as such people are clearly not recycling enough.
Of course they are taking steps to rectify this, and that is good, but I don’t understand why it’s taken them so long when it was obvious within months of me moving to Shipley that the system was confusing and it wasn’t clear what could be recycled and why.
What I don’t understand is why a neighbouring council such as Leeds can recycle all envelopes and cardboard and Bradford cannot. I cannot believe the Council have not looked in to it at any point, but the information is not freely available as far as I can make out.
Putting past feasibility studies online and making it available would be a good step to opening up information to the public and helping people understand why the council makes the decisions it does (or does not as the case may be).