TEAMS of ‘community champions’ could be formed to drive up the district’s recycling rates amid fears that Bradford’s waste mountain is set to grow.
A new Bradford Council report states the district “has some way to go” to reduce the amount of rubbish produced annually per household.
And it warns that that figure will probably increase in coming years, against a recent falling trend, as the economy recovers and the district’s population and therefore numbers of homes increase.
Councillors are now set to discuss ‘key questions’ such as changing people’s behaviour by targeting those who do not recycle, making standard rubbish bins slimmer, examining ways of disposing of waste, collection policies, and income possibilities from recycling.
Councillor Martin Love, chairman of the environment and waste management overview and scrutiny committee, which is to discuss the report next week, said: “One thing we have noticed is that there are certain areas of the district that have a good recycling take-up by residents, and there are other areas that do not.
“A better use of resources would be to target these areas rather than to get a marginal increase in areas that are doing quite well.
“The idea of using community champions is worth exploring. It is about leading by example, and I think ward councillors have a role to play in that.”
He added: “Prevention of the waste arising in the first place, that can make the biggest reduction.”
Keith Thomson, an environmental campaigner in Bradford and a former Labour councillor, said establishing community champions was a good idea, but that what was needed was more regular recycling collections.
Bradford Council is committed to weekly general rubbish collections until 2017.
He also said implementing a system where recyclable materials are sorted at the kerbside by workers would be the ideal way forward.
“The places that get very high recycling have different ways of doing it,” said Mr Thomson. “One way is you only collect ordinary rubbish once every two or three weeks, but collect recycling stuff every week. That way the only way people will get rid of stuff is to recycle.
“Other parts of the country are recycling at levels up to 60 or 70 per cent.”
Mr Thomson, who was heavily involved in the decision to introduce wheelie bins to Bradford in the 1990s, added: “Collecting every week is the way to get recycling up. With community champions you might get the extra percentage up – it might rise from 15 to 16 per cent – but if you want to get it high, you have got to have very, very regular collections and collect biodegradable waste on a weekly basis.”
Latest figures show Bradford generated 451.39kg per household in 2012/13, making it the tenth worst in Yorkshire and the Humber, with Calderdale being the best-performing at 323.13kg and Doncaster worst at 639.68kg.
Despite that Bradford’s figure has dropped from an average of 632kg in 2010.
Based on Office of National Statistics trends, Bradford’s population – 532,648 last year – is expected to rise to 568,945 in 2021 and possibly as high as 640,000 by 2033.
Bradford is expected to need an extra 42,000 homes by 2030, according to the report.
Councillors at next Tuesday’s meeting will also hear about four possible options for the long-term disposal of Bradford’s waste. Last year the government pulled the plug on a £62.1 million Private Finance Initiative (PFI) investment into a joint project between Bradford and Calderdale councils for a £300m household waste scheme at Bowling Back Lane, Bradford.
Mr Thomson said: “The council knows the theory, but what they are looking for is a way to do it at minimum cost because they don’t have the money. “The council will come up with a scheme that works and is legally sound, but it will not be perfect – but that is municipal life.”