On-street recycling bins and water bottle refill points could be coming to Chorley town centre as part of an attempt to boost the borough’s green credentials.
Plans are being drawn up to reduce the amount of rubbish generated in the district and improve recycling rates.
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Members of Chorley Council’s “green agenda” task group said that the strategy should include ways of making it easier for people to do the right thing for the environment while they are out and about.
The authority’s waste services manager, Doug Cridland, told the committee that he was open to the idea of trialling split litter bins for different types of rubbish – even though the idea had been unsuccessfully attempted in the past.
“It became just another bin, no matter how many apertures it had or what we emblazoned it with,” he said, adding that any repeat of the experiment – which is commonplace elsewhere – should be focused on the busiest areas of the town, like Market Walk.
But Cllr Alex Hilton insisted that now is the time to “educate” people.
“I think public opinion has changed since we last attempted this,” he said.
Mr. Cridland also said that water refill dispensers were another practical step that could help the town’s shoppers to reduce their plastic waste – if their installation proved feasible.
Committee chair Steve Holgate said that the war on single-use plastics should also involve Chorley’s traders – who could be accredited according to their efforts to reduce their reliance on the material.
But the meeting heard that if the recycling habit is to be formed at home, then some Chorley householders are at a disadvantage – not through a lack of will, but a shortage of space.
“In some areas of social housing or flats, residents haven’t got room for all the different bins so everything has to go in the one,” Cllr Mark Clifford explained.
However, fellow committee member Laura Lennox received a mixed reaction to her suggestion that the solution could lie in the continental system of providing larger communal bins across a wider area.
“There is a part of Astley Village with 25 bins strewn all over the pavement – three big bins would be more attractive than that,” she said.
But Doug Cridland warned that the communal waste disposal could lead to disputes over exactly where the bins would be positioned.
“Another drawback is that nobody has responsibility [for their own rubbish],” he said.
The meeting heard that the council will supply its now discontinued green recycling boxes to properties who want them, if they have insufficient room for a bin.
The authority will also empty – upon request – any brown bins which still contain garden waste from before they were converted to being the bin for paper and card almost three years ago. Cllr Lennox said that the changeover – which coincided with the introduction of garden waste collection charges – had inadvertently left a legacy of “stinking refuse” in some areas of the borough.
Chorley’s full waste reduction strategy is expected to be published in the coming weeks. The area is in the top three for recycling out of 14 local authorities in Lancashire – with a rate of 43.3 percent according to the latest figures. However, in common with almost every other corner of the county, that rate has fallen over the last five years.