Glass recycling ambitions shattered as Kirklees Council plans end of kerbside collections - Rightly or wrongly?

KERBSIDE glass collections are expected to be scrapped across Huddersfield.

Recycling glass bottles
Recycling glass bottles

KERBSIDE glass collections are expected to be scrapped across Huddersfield.

The scheme – used by tens of thousands of families – is expected to go in a bid to save almost £½m per year.

Kirklees Council’s cabinet will decide on Wednesday whether to axe the recycling service at the end of March next year.

Documents released ahead of the meeting reveal the group of leading councillors has been told the move would save £468,000 by the end of the 2013/14 financial year.

The plan was first revealed in January but was delayed amid protests from councillors.

But with further cuts in funding now certain, the council is now proposing to call time on collections to more than 117,000 households.

The expected closure of the service comes just three years after the council finished phasing in the green kerbside boxes.

The fortnightly collection was first launched with a pilot in the Denby Dale area during 2004 and continued to be rolled out to the rest of Kirklees until 2010.

Kirklees Green Party chief, Clr Andrew Cooper, said the council was being forced into cutting services due to “ridiculous” decisions by the Government.

He said: “It’s really disappointing.

“People have embraced it, it’s certainly been a success at increasing recycling rates.

“People want to do it but due to massive reductions in funding Kirklees has been forced down this road.

“As much as I would like to see people’s bottles collected, the level of funding cuts by central government is such that some very difficult decisions are having to be made.

“I care about recycling but the council is having to choose between recycling and basic social care.

“It’s difficult to argue when it comes down to those sort of choices.”

Clr Cooper said the coalition Government’s cuts were at odds with its ambitions of being the “greenest government ever”.

He added: “It’s a double whammy from central government as they’re making it more difficult to achieve recycling targets, then they’re hitting us with additional landfill taxes.

“People have got to understand what a dire situation central Government is putting ordinary people in.

“They’re living in a fantasy land – reducing funding for services and expecting everything to happen.

“David Cameron’s claim to being the greenest government ever is just proving to be a lot of hot air.

“They’ve not backed it up at all, meanwhile billions have been misdirected on vanity projects such as high speed rail and Trident missiles.”

The council’s report reveals its environmental officers have investigated retaining the service using a Wakefield-based charity, Groundwork and its partner, Allied Glass Ltd.

But it says the charity’s initial promise of a “no cost” collection service failed to materialise.

Three differently priced proposals were offered to the council, all of which were cheaper than its current costs, but none could be delivered within the available budget.

Government regulations on mandatory glass recycling, due to be imposed in 2015, would be met through the expansion of Kirklees’ network of glass banks.

There are currently 121 glass bank sites in the district and 84% of households are within 1km of one.

The report says the council’s existing glass bank contractor could provide more facilities at no extra cost to the council.

Some 161 potential new sites have been inspected and provisional agreements for new glass banks have been made for 46 more, bringing 95% of households within 1 km of one.

The council’s glass collection workers would be retained and allocated other duties or roles within their current pay grade.

Kirklees Council Cabinet will meet at 4pm at Huddersfield Town Hall on Wednesday to consider the report.

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