All Change for Chippenham's Rubbish

Today sees a big change to Chippenham's kerbside (or communal in our case) rubbish collection. Now we have a plastics and cardboard collection one week and a land fill one the next. This replaces the weekly everything going to land fill rounds. The timing's quite ironic in view of the government's recent announcement on encouraging a return to weekly rubbish collections. I suppose our local council would argue it's still providing a weekly service.

So we now have up to three bins to find room for in the garden*: green for landfill; brown if anyone opts in for the weekly garden refuse collection** and a blue lidded one for plastics (types 1 -3, but only of a certain kind) and cardboard. Judging by the bins put out last night, my neighbours aren't quite sure what's being collected today, or they're mounting a silent protest and insisting the land fill collection remains a weekly one ;)

There's quite a lot which needs clarifying about the plastics collection, so don't be surprised if I post about this again soon. Let's just say for now my usual joy at an improvement in the recycling service is on hold.

* = we're lucky as I can move things around to find room at the side of the house, but there's plenty of people who can't. I'd love one of the garden shows such as Chelsea or Hampton Court to have a specific competition for designers to show-off their solutions for this and other practical problems we mortals face
** = which we haven't as I have 9 compost bins to feed!

Update: And in other rubbish related news today, Liverpool is launching the UK's first singing litter bin :0

Update 2: It's 3.55pm and the council are collecting the rubbish from the green bins. The plastic and cardboard were collected this morning. Looks like I got it wrong and my neighbours didn't!

Update 3: It was a temporary reprieve. We now have fortnightly collections, recycling one week and household rubbish the next


  1. I think it would be really tough to go to bi-weekly general waste collections. We're only a two person household and I know I'd struggle with it.
    We already recyle everything we can, but most plastics are not accepted, so a lot still goes into the black bins. Until they improve the plastic recycling, this kind of thing just isn't viable.

    Our blue bins for plastic and glass and boxes for cards and paper are collected bi-weekly. I rarely ever fill either of them. I don't use glass jars or plastic bottles often so for me they're a massive waste of space in my garden and rather annoying in fact.
    And like you all kitchen waste goes into the compost bin.

  2. Liz - as usual with plastics it's all a bit of a muddle and the information given isn't enough for people to decide what can be recycled and what can't. That's assuming they're prepared to separate out their rubbish in the first place. Many people aren't :(

    In our collection, only certain plastics 1-3 can be binned because as Wiltshire Council says 'there's a ready market for this plastic'.

    Householders can 'still recycle other 1-3 plastics at their local household recycling centre'.

    I have several thoughts on this:

    1. So there'll still be lots of journeys to the recycling centre, thus car miles aren't reduced that much

    2. What happens to the 1-3 plastics taken to the household recycling centre? Sounds like they aren't actually recycled to me

    3. Not everything is conveniently marked 1-3; there should be PET (1), HDPE (2) and PVC (3) mentioned in the guidance as some items have these letters rather than the numbers. Also many of the supermarkets mark their plastic 'check local recycling' with no number or lettering given. How can people do that if they don't know what kind of plastic it is?

    4. Some items which look like they're a 1-3 are actually a 5, so there's a high chance the wrong plastic will go in the bin

    5. Many people won't check their plastic and will chuck it in the bin anyway. The council says if too much other plastic is collected, that consignment is rejected and it goes to landfill. I'm expecting that lots will be rejected.

    Oops I seem to have written my follow up post already ;)

  3. The plastics are the hardest - and the most annoying! There is a limit to the amount of packaging I can re-use for seed sowing etc, but given how many different types of plastic there are, how tiny the numbers identifying them on the packaging tends to be, and the fact that just one small bit of the wrong kind of plastic can ruin an entire recycling batch, we seem to be doomed. Our council will collect plastic bottles and milk cartons but nothing else, as they (probably quite rightly!) don't trust us to be correctly selective. But we do now have food waste composting. Although we compost most of the small amount of kitchen waste ourselves, it is nice to be able to recycle cooked food waste and bones. Aagh! I now feel all frustrated... But I don't personally have a problem with fortnightly collections, we are four adults and we still never manage to fill a bin, green or otherwise. Apart from the bottles bin...

  4. Janet - I'm constantly amazed at how our collections differ around the country :(

    Good point re how small the lettering is.

    I've just been checking out one of the general UK recycling website. They say on no account should the lids on things like milk bottles be included. BUT our council asks for them!

    Please, please please everyone - supermarkets, councils, recycling info bodies, package designers and any other organisation involved with packaging:

    Could you PLEASE all work together and come up with a people-centric solution that's easy to understand, has helpful information and is consistent? Until you make this easy for people to do, the vast majority of them won't bother OR they'll get it wrong and it ends up costing YOU more money to deal with the problem.

  5. BTW - I'm raising all of this everywhere I can think of - it's not just empty ranting and raving on my part.

  6. Apparently you can opt out of the bin and use bags instead - I hope reusable ones (I'm guessing building material type). A friend has asked to do that and is waiting for her bin to be taken away!
    It's plastic bottles only in the bins. I was talking to a Wiltshire Council person who says the reason is that these are pretty reliably 1,2 or 3 whereas other things can be all sorts of plastic, and generally people aren't very good at sorting the different types. If the level of contamination is too high, the whole lot has to go to landfill. So it's far from ideal but I guess it's a first step anyway. Other 1,2,3s can still go to the main recycling centres as before.
    It's all much more complicated than it has any right to be!

  7. we just get red bins to put recycling in...the people who pick it up weekly give it a rough seperation before taking off. so long as it's not 'construction materials', everything else ends up in the trash.

  8. I've just seen your other replies - I have a plan to start sending supermarkets info when we find bad packaging - eg confusingly or not labelled; not 1,2 or 3 when it could be; could be cardboard or nothing instead of plastic (eg plastic wrapped aubergines or cabbages which always get my blood pressure rising!). I will let you know when I've done this - the more people tell the supermarkets they don't like it, the more pressure they will put on suppliers to improve the recyclability of, or even reduce, their packaging.

  9. Lu - great idea re the info and supermarkets. Count me in! Another reason why I'm annoyed about this is we challenged the council at their recycling roadshow at Headington over the summer and were told we could actually put any 1-3 in the bin, it's been done this way to try and make it simpler for people who are new to the world of recycling plastic. However, in the meantime it looks like the guidance has been changed, OR it's been misquoted in the paper.

    Petoskystone - welcome to my world!

  10. Isn't this where Terracycle are meant to come in, (your post from 12th September), so that we can give them all the stuff the council doesn't take? I too hate plastic recycling.

  11. Dobby - well remembered :) We're starting a local initiative to try and get something sorted re plastics recycling...


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