Preston’s recycling rates are the third worst in the North West, according to new data.
Only six of the 43 councils in the region are currently hitting the UK government household waste recycling target of 50 per cent.
Not one of the six hitting the target are in central Lancashire or the Fylde Coast.
However, with a recycling rate of 47.5 per cent, Fylde Council is the closest.
And South Ribble’s rates, at 46.5 per cent, comes a close second.
The new figures from The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) mean that Preston’s recycling rates, which slumped from 37 per cent to 32 per cent in 2016/17, have since dropped even further to 29.8 per cent.
But a Preston City Council (PCC) cabinet member said if more people did their bit to recycle the authority would see its rates increase.
The numbers have prompted waste experts to warn that the clock is ticking, urging councils to do more to tackle the issue in order to hit the 50 per cent Government target by 2020 to avoid facing huge financial penalties
In the North West, only Barrow-in-Furness and Liverpool performed worse than Preston.
In Preston, where separate annual charges for garden waste have been introduced, the recycling rate could be lower as figures for brown bin recycling do not make it into official recycling rates for authorities.
Coun Robert Boswell, cabinet member for environment at PCC, said: “During recent years we have had to make difficult choices which has included introducing charges for garden waste collections, along with many other councils, both in Lancashire and nationally.
“While many residents have subscribed to the service, others have chosen to home compost or take their garden waste to Household Waste Recycling Centres.
“Composting in this way does not count towards the recycling rates of councils such as Preston, but is still a responsible way of disposing of your waste.”
As the numbers come to light a change in what items can be recycled in Lancashire is due to come into place by October 1.
It means that the county’s residents will soon be able to recycle more, adding to the recycling rates at local councils. Along with plastic bottles, which are already collected, residents will be able to put clean plastic pots, tubs and trays in recycling bins. These include yoghurt pots, margarine tubs, and meat, fruit and vegetable trays of any shape or colour, along with their lids.
A Lancashire County Council spokesman said: “It’s easy to see whether something is recyclable by checking the number stamped onto it.
“Anything with a number one, two or five within the recycling triangle should go into your recycling bin.
“The colour and shape of the container doesn’t matter - the main thing is to check is that it can be recycled, and give it a rinse.
“If the plastic still has food waste on it, or is covered in plastic film, it can cause a problem as it goes through our recycling system and could end up not be recycled at all.”
Coun Boswell added: “It’s great news that we will soon be able to recycle additional plastics in Preston and across Lancashire and this should see an increase in the recycling rate, as well as ensuring that more plastics do not end up polluting the environment.
“We have a comprehensive recycling service operating across Preston and we encourage all residents to use the service to its fullest.
“This includes recycling those items, such as bottles from the bathroom that many people still put in the ordinary refuse bin.
“If more people do their bit we will see recycling rates increase.”
In Wyre the council is introducing wheelie bins instead of boxes in the hope that residents will recycle more.
A spokesman from Wyre Council said: “As part of our efforts to recycle 50 per cent of Wyre’s waste by 2020, we’ve listened to our residents’ feedback and will be introducing wheeled bins to replace the green boxes for recycling plastics, glass and aluminium.
“It is hoped that the increased capacity will allow residents to recycle more.
“We also welcome the introduction of recycling pots, tubs and trays from October 1 from Lancashire County Council and hope that the new wheeled bin will improve recycling rates.
“Ultimately, we want to encourage residents to look for alternatives to items like single use plastics where possible and produce less waste.”
According to waste experts InSinkErator the figures from Defra are an “opportunity to make real change for the future of our planet”.
Recycling rates in Central Lancashire and the Fylde Coast listed worst to best:
• Preston has a recycling rate of 29.8 per cent / North West region ranking: 41/43 / UK ranking: 314/353
• Blackpool has a recycling rate of 35.8 per cent / North West region ranking: 29/43 / UK ranking: 262/353
• Chorley has a recycling rate of 42.7 per cent / North West region ranking: 20/43 / UK ranking: 185/353
• Wyre has a recycling rate of 42.9 per cent / North West region ranking: 18/43 / UK ranking: 178/353
• South Ribble has a recycling rate of 46.5 per cent / North West region ranking: 12/43 / UK ranking: 124/353
• Fylde has a recycling rate of 47.5 per cent / North West region ranking: 9/43 / UK ranking: 113/353
How can you help?
Environmental campaigners are now beginning to target recyclers to reduce waste rather than recycle after some appalling disclosures in the media.
Other countries are now refusing to take the UK’s recycling and many items that had been sorted for recycling are being incinerated or ending up in landfill.
Preventing waste is more effective than recycling. There are many ways you can do this, including:
• Buy fresh vegetables without plastic packaging
• Find a milkman
• Use a food waste disposer
• Stop buying plastic bottles and disposable coffee cups
Garden waste collection - apply or renew
If you are a Preston resident and wish to receive fortnightly garden waste or brown bin collections, you need to subscribe to Preston City Council’s garden waste collection service.
The garden waste subscription charge for 2019/20 is £35 for the emptying of one brown bin fortnightly. This covers garden waste collections made between April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020.
If you subscribe part way through the year the full charge will still apply.
Preston is the only authority in Central Lancashire and the Fylde Coast which also charges an initial price for the delivery of a garden waste bin at a cost of £16. Its annual fee to collect the brown bins on a fortnightly basis is £35 - the same rate as Blackpool.
Meanwhile Chorley, South Ribble, Wyre and Fylde all charge £30.