Council to trial recycling scheme

Household waste bins in Magherafelt could be getting smaller as Council trials a scheme to encourage more recycling.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 5:29 pm

Mid Ulster District Council’s environment committee has backed plans to carry out a kerbside recycling trial for 500 homes in Magherafelt.

Council officers are searching for ways to help Council meet its target to re-use or recycle 65 per cent of municipal waste by 2035.

This “small scale trial” will see 500 homes in Magherafelt have the capacity of their recycling bin increased while the capacity of their residual waste bin will be reduced.

Bin collections.

The timing of the trial is dependent on “the return to normality following the current pandemic” and will run for “at least six months, probably a year so it can be assessed over both summer and winter periods”, according to a council officer.

The trial will see the houses provided with a smaller 180 litre black bin for residual waste which will replace the current 240 litre container. A second 240 litre blue bin for mixed recyclable waste will be provided

The overall waste storage capacity will increase by 180 litres and the bins will be collected on the same fortnightly collection schedule as they are at present.

Reflecting on the proposal, Councillor Clement Cuthbertson said he feared it “could throw up a number of problems”.

“A number of people will have purchased their black bin privately and there could be the perception that Council is taking their bin from them,” he said.

“I note the 240L bin will be removed, you could get into a situation where people say ‘hold on that is my bin, I paid for that, you can’t take it away’.

“Also, my black bin at home would be less than half full most of the time, but the potential is there on the odd occasion that we would have extra waste.

“I believe people will just hold the waste over to the next collection so it may not reduce anything.

“I am not against the trial but was any consideration given to starting a new large housing development off with this new system to see how that would go?”

A council officer said the trial will include a mixture of newer and older housing as well as a mix of public and private housing and accepted Cllr Cuthbertson made “valid points” but said “that is the purpose of the trial, to see how it goes”.

Another officer said the point of taking existing routes is that it will allow for a “before and after” comparison and noted there is a lot of material that is coming out of the residual waste bin that is fit to go into the recycling 

Councillor Wesley Brown said he had “no issue” with the trial but asked what would happen to larger families who rely on the 240L bin because of the number of people living in the household.

An officer explained that during the trial period all “existing arrangements or any approved second bin collections” will be honoured.

Councillor Mark Glasgow said he can see the benefits of the trial but urged Council to realise that communication will be key if and when the trail is rolled out across the borough.

The proposal to approve the trial was put forward by Councillor Brian McGuigan who said it was important to encourage people to move “away from the residual waste bins”.

The proposal was seconded by Councillor Christine McFlynn.