BUSINESSES around Settle are to be asked to help keep the paper recycling facility at the swimming pool afloat after the price of waste paper plummeted.

The sale of used paper and cardboard has been an important source of funding for the Settle community pool since its construction in the 1970s.

Over the years it is estimated to have raised more than a quarter of a million pounds. But a drop in the world price of waste paper and cardboard means that the scheme is now generating very little money.

For two months this winter the pool received no income for the paper sent for recycling as the cost of transporting the containers to the Rishton company’s works near Blackburn offset almost all the profit from sales.

The situation improved a little in February, but with prices at only £10 a tonne, the scheme, which involves a team of volunteers packing the containers six days a week, is still only generating income of £300 a month – equivalent to less than £4,000 a year. This compares with the £13,000 that the scheme generated in 2018.

Scheme spokesman Mike Smith said: “If we closed organisations would need to find other means of disposing of their paper and cardboard – and in many cases that could involve a significant cost.

“We know that we can’t make a formal charge, but businesses also know we are providing a service for them and many have already said that they are willing to make a regular donation to the pool in recognition of our work.

“We are now approaching all our business customers asking them to show their support for us in a practical way by donating to the pool.

“We hope that prices go up again soon. But in the meantime we hope business support will help to keep us going.”

A team of around 20 volunteers collect and sort round 30 tonnes of paper and card each month and provide a vital recycling service for businesses and residents.

With paper prices at rock bottom the volunteers running the scheme have had to seriously consider whether it is worth their while to continue.

But they know that if the scheme closed it would be hard to start up again. And that is why they have decided to approach the many local businesses and other organisations that bring materials to them.

Businesses that use the paper recycling facility at Settle swimming pool are being asked to consider making regular donations to the pool in order to ensure the long-term future of the paper collection scheme.