Recycling rate improves in Brighton and Hove – but falls short of national average

Brighton Whitecross Street Recycling Site by Editor5807 licensed by Creative Commons on Wikimedia
Brighton Whitecross Street Recycling Site by Editor5807 licensed by Creative Commons on Wikimedia

Almost a third of household waste in Brighton and Hove is now recycled (30.4 per cent), but the rate is still far lower than the national average of 44 per cent.

The latest figures for the first quarter of the financial year however, are an improvement on the 29 per cent recorded last year.

Assistant director of city environment Rachel Chasseaud announced the news when presenting to members of the environment, transport and sustainability committee on Tuesday (November 27).

She told the committee work is underway on a recycling project and education campaign to launch early next year.

This will include a multi-media campaign telling people what they can recycle in the city, how and where.

As there is no market for recycling pots, tubs and trays, the report states it is unlikely the council will extend its plastic recycling.

Mrs Chasseaud said the National Audit Office is looking into where plastics go when they are recycled.

She said the non-recyclable plastics are burnt at the incinerator in Newhaven, powering 22,000 homes.

Labour councillor Peter Atkinson said: “We have to accept the reality of recycling plastic tubs and trays as there is no market for them.

“Hopefully we can join together with other councils through the Local Government Association and bring about a change in packaging at source from supermarkets and businesses.”

Green councillor Leo Littman put forward an amendment asking for officers to look into increasing the amount of plastics and report back to the January committee.

This was agreed unanimously by councillors.

Conservative councillor Joe Miller held up his sushi trays and expressed his frustration at the inability to recycle them.

He asked if there was a business case for selling capacity at Newhaven incinerator.

Mrs Chassaud referred to a report titled Everyday Plastics, saying the emphasis was wrong on plastics, which in theory they can be recycled, in reality they are not as the bottom has dropped out of the market.

She urged people not to put trays pots and tubs in their recycling as there is a threshold for contamination and the authority is trying to reduce this to help improve its recycling rate.

The council is also looking at a food waste collection service .

In July 2015 as part of the Cityclean report food waste collection was explored in detail but not pursued as it would cost more than £1 million per year.

The council encourages people to compost garden waste at home.

However, Labour councillor Alan Robins said after an increased number of rats at his allotment he was told by officers composting was not advised there as it contributed to the problem.

Since 2007, more than 20,000 compost bins have been sold through the council’s subsidised scheme.

The council also funds 37 community composting schemes in the city in partnership with Brighton and Hove Food Partnership.

Work is also underway to reduce the amount of single use plastic in the city.

The Brighton Marathon has submitted a plan to eliminate single use plastics from the event in April next year.

A report into plastic recycling goes before the committee when it meets on Tuesday, January 22.