Newham Council, the local government body in charge of the east London borough of Newham, has recently leafletted thousands of homes advising residents on what items they can place in their recycling bins. This is part of the council’s continuing drive to increase both recycling rates and awareness among the borough’s more than 150,000 residents. All households in Newham are provided with two wheelie bins free of charge by the council. One, coloured dark green, is intended for general waste, such as food, garden waste and non-recyclable items. The second bin, with a lighter green body and an orange hinged lid, is meant solely for items that Newham’s Recycling Centre can retrieve to be re-used again. Council refuse operatives usually visit streets on Mondays and Fridays to collect from either one of the two bins. Recycling teams will empty bins every fortnight. Residents are given special orange recycling bags to fill with their recyclable items, as the council sanitary workers are not permitted to accept goods stuffed into black bin liners for recycling.
The council, concerned that many residents are unaware of what items can be placed in their orange and green recycling bins, and to ease the burden of having to dispose of rubbish that they are unable to recycle, have produced leaflets that explain in clear and plain English what residents can and cannot recycle.
In the leaflets, Newham Council advises households that they should put only the following items into their recycling bins: cardboard, food tins and soft drinks cans, plastic bottles and paper. Anything else, even if it is possible to recycle, should be thrown into the dark green bin instead. Even if materials can be recycled, different London councils will have not always have the capabilities or facilities to process these items. Recycling policy does in fact vary from one local administration to another.
Mixed paper includes items such as envelopes, telephone directories, junk mail, wrapping paper and scrap paper. Food tins and drinks cans are usually made from aluminium or steel, for example, cans of soft drinks, baked beans tins, chick pea tins or tins for dog food. The council can also recycle plastic bottles, such as those used for soft drinks, mineral water, orange juice (not Tetra-Pak) or milk. Cardboard is also accepted, so Newham residents can place items such as cereal boxes, parcels, electronics packaging and tubes from toilet/kitchen rolls in their orange recycling bags.
Residents should ensure that they put their recyclable rubbish only in the orange bags, of which rolls are provided by Newham Council (and were previously left on doorsteps free of charge). They have been asked to rinse out all cans and plastic bottles, and squash or flatten all cardboard boxes and plastic bottles to maximise space in their bins and in the collection truck.
The council states in their leaflets that they do not accept the following items for recycling. Any dirty or soiled food packaging, such as greasy takeaway cartons are not accepted and should be thrown into the general waste bin instead. Mixed glass, a term used for glass containers of any colour, although recyclable, is not accepted by council recycling teams either. You can take things like beer and wine bottles, jam jars, and assorted glass items to the public glass recycling bins which can be found across Newham where they can be disposed of securely and safely. The council also will not recycle many common types of plastic packaging, such as those used for microwaveable ready meals and blister packs, and also nappies (used or unused). These items should be placed into the dark green bin for collection. Food waste and nappies, if placed in with paper or cardboard packaging, can damage the paper, meaning it cannot be recycled. As some of the recycling is sorted by hand by council workers, residents are also advised not to place sharp objects like broken glass or needles into the bags for safety reasons. If people are unsure that a particular item can be recycled, they should dispose of it in the general rubbish bin. Other prohibited items for recycling are aerosol cans (air fresheners, deodorants), books, cling film, food, cartons with a waxed surface – i.e. Tetra-Pak cartons, cartons for soup, juice and milk, metal objects of any kind other than cans or tins, paint and polystyrene.
The Newham recycling programme has been in place for more than a decade as the council encourages residents to recycle their household rubbish to protect the environment, save natural resources and help the council reduce its bill for waste disposal.
Newham residents can find the location of their nearest glass recycling bank by visiting www.newham.gov.uk/recycling . Bulky items such as household furniture, mattresses, expired white goods and old carpet will be collected by the council for free. Anyone who dumps bulky items on the street can risk fines. Residents can book a collection date for their unwanted bulky good by visiting the Newham Council website at www.newham.gov.uk and clicking on the button marked “Apply for it”. Garden waste, such as grass cutting, leaves, twigs/branches and weeds are also collected free of charge. Residents can also compost their garden waste and the council offer special composting bins for a low price if they call the council compost line on 0845 130 6090 – calls charged at local rates from a landline, mobile calls may cost differently.
Glass bottles and jars can be dropped off at any public ‘bring bank’ for recycling in Newham, or can be transported in bulk to the Jenkins Lane Reuse and Recycling Centre in nearby Barking. Residents choosing to use the Jenkins Lane site must bring either a Newham Council-issued council tax statement or a driving licence to get permission to use the Centre’s services. The Centre is not run by Newham Council, but by a non-related firm, Shanks East London on behalf of the East London Waste Authority. For opening hours contact Shanks East London on freephone 0800 389 9918 or go to the Recycle for Your Community website.