How do you think kerbside recycling could be improved most in your area?

The UK government’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has recommended new targets for recycling in Britain.

We currently recycle around 37% of our waste – up from just 11% in 2001 – but still lagging behind other European countries, who recycle up to 70% of their waste. The new targets will have us recycling 50% of our waste within five years (2015) and recycling 60% by 2020.

Recycling provision has grown immensely over the last decade – hence that 26% jump – and most people, certainly in urban/suburb areas, do most of their recycling through regular kerbside pickups. But what do you think would improve the doorstep recycling most in your area? What would allow you to recycle more? What do you think would encourage less green-focused people to make the effort too?

I’ve put a poll together to make it easy for people to contribute but feel free to add your own suggestions in the poll or in the comments below.

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15 Responses to “How do you think kerbside recycling could be improved most in your area?”


  1. Cipollina says:

    - Tax reduction for recyclers.
    - Raised tax for non-recyclers.
    - Permanent recycling stations instead of a million bins outside once a week.
    - Fewer bins – create jobs for “sorters” who can separate metall from glass, and plastic A from plastic B, etc. instead.

  2. Alice says:

    It is pointless to tell me that lots of things (like Tetrapacks) can be recycled at my local waste sorting site. I don’t have a car and don’t really know anyone with a car, so this is no use to me at all.

    There is currently an appointment system for the collection of bulky waste – why not just add recycling to this service? Every few months when my neighbours and I have accumulated a tonne of Tetrapacks, a few hearing aid batteries and an old sofa, we’ll give the council a ring and book an appointment for the van to come out and take it all to the sorting site.

    Also supermarkets need to be forced to reduce unnecessary packaging and use only recyclable materials – that is, materials which can actually be recycled locally.

    Every single bit of plastic sold as product OR packaging should be obliged to have its recycling symbol clearly marked on it. An amazing amount of plastic has to go to landfill because I have no way of knowing if it can be recycled or not.

    We just need simple legistlation to this effect – no messing around with voluntary codes etc which aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

    • louisa says:

      “….which aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.”

      and I bet they don’t recycle that paper either ;)

      +1 on the legislation thing – the stuff we’ve got at the moment is less than useless.

      The bulky waste collection service is a really great idea too – or more local waste sites, so every few streets/neighbourhood has one rather than just five across the city or whatever.

  3. MJ Ray says:

    I’ve reposted this poll on my microblog (and so my website, my social networks…). Will you be sending the results to Defra? They’re one of the more social-media-y departments.

  4. Lizzy says:

    I think the mentality of a lot of people is the real problem. Most places I’ve been helping to prepare food, apart from in my home, people just throw everything , including aluminium foil and things that are widely recycled in the non-recycling bin. I doubt that any amount of leaflets stuck through our letterboxes by the council is going to change this.

    Also, I agree with Alice on the point that it’s useless to have a site which we have to take certain items to – and is anyone without strong views on it going to bother?

    I really think that my council (St Albans) needs to get their act together on this. They send out fridge magnets telling us to recycle – wrapped in non-recyclable plastic. Enough said.

  5. Tim says:

    I fully agree with Cipollina:
    - Tax reduction for recyclers
    - Raised tax for non-recyclers

    Tax plays a crucial role in changing behaviours in domestic and commercial contexts. I work for AnyJunk who collect anything that is too big for your standard wheelie bin. We currently divert 75% from landfill (higher than the European counties mentioned) and this is a figure that is rising.

    The commercial operators must realise the impact of their pricing decisions on the end consumer: http://www.anyjunk.co.uk/blog/boring-but-important/landfill-tax-subsidising-the-waste-industry

  6. Earl says:

    I agree, Kwik Sweep does bulky junk removal in London. They recycle most of the stuff collected too. http://www.kwiksweep.com Great company

  7. Katrin says:

    I think that everyone should recycle and now with all these rubbish removal London companies it is easier. Thanks :)

  8. I agree that a lot of items aren’t recycled due to lack of knowledge in people. A large number of items are recycled out of habit like tin foil, the bins them self could also have more information written on over what can and can’t be recycled. A lot of people I know if they aren’t sure they will just bin it.

    I am glad to see there has been an improvement in kerb side collections on larger waste such as WEEE, if this continues to improve (perhaps quarterly or every 6 month pickups) then people will be more inclined to keep electrical waste to one side until they know it will be picked up rather than rushing it down the tip. If you would like some more information on electrical recycling click the link on my name.

  9. OmnivorousReader42 says:

    we relocated from Indiana (USA – midwest) to Washington (USA – west coast) and were shocked at how much less we can recycle in this supposedly progressive area! Luckily our church collects items like paperboard that curbside won’t take & runs them to the proper facility.

    related question: do you have big item pick up week? In Indiana once a year you could put out anything – sofa, beds etc. People were encouraged to put items out early so that “scavengers” could take for reuse. This helped in 2 ways – items were recirculated in the community & illegal dumping was significantly lowered.

  10. skippy says:

    In the UK most neighbourhoods are encouraged to recycle their household rubbish. Each household is provided with 3 types of the garbage bins, one for recyclable goods, one for garden waste and another for the rest, which is usually not much.

  11. chez says:

    In our area of Yorkshire we have a green wheelie bin for green/garden waste, and another for general rubbish, a green box for glass and tin, a clear polythene bag for cardboard and plastic, a white poly bag for textiles and a blue bag for paper.
    Our council do not accept vegetable peelings, fruit peel etc so if residents don’t have their own compost bin, that goes into the general rubbish bin.
    The only plastic which they accept for recycling is 1 or 2, I find that a lot of containers are 5, which they do not accept.
    In the summer when the green/garden bin is soon full, they will not accept anything extra, and it has to go in with the general rubbish.
    The boxes and bags often blow away after being emptied, and replacements have to be requested from the council.

  12. good to see people coming up with some great idea and really wanting to change the way kerbside collection are done. In birmingham i have heard a lot of the recycle stuff goes to the incinerators, i would like to know my recycling waste is going to be recycled.

  13. We just need to invest more in state of the art material recovery facilities.

  14. Chris says:

    In the UK most neighbourhoods are encouraged to recycle their household rubbish. Each household is provided with 3 types of the garbage bins, one for recyclable goods, one for garden waste and another for the rest, which is usually not much.



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