Friends of the Earth hit out at North Tyneside’s “abysmal” recycling record

Recycling rates in North Tyneside have been criticised by the borough's Friends of the Earth group.
Recycling rates in North Tyneside have been criticised by the borough's Friends of the Earth group.

Environmentalists have hit out at North Tyneside Council’s ‘abysmal’ recycling rates.

North Tyneside Friends of the Earth say the authority’s recycling rate of 35.2 per cent is worse than neighbouring Newcastle, South Tyneside, Durham and Northumberland councils.

And they were also critical of North Tyneside Council rejecting some items which are taken elsewhere, such as Sainsbury’s accepting yoghurt pots, margarine tubs and ice cream tubs.

Steve Manchee, chairman of the group, said: “The council should be congratulated on its decision to switch to fortnightly rubbish bin collections but it must do more to improve its recycling rate.

“It has to increase the number of items it accepts in its recycling bins. The current list is far too restrictive. Most residents are enthusiastic recyclers. But the council has to help them by accepting more items, particularly plastic.”

A council spokesman said: “Our recycling rates are low compared to our North East neighbours – precisely because they have had the advantage of fortnightly collections – and we are confident our new service will make a significant difference.

“Although certain plastics such as pots, tubs and plastic bags, are not currently recycled as part of our recycling contract we continue to review the materials we collects.

“We also actively encourage people to try and reuse products that can’t be recycled, or use a recyclable alternative. We offer lots of information about how to do this on our website.”

The group is also campaigning for the council to set up a system to collect food waste, by offering small caddies to households. That waste would then go to an anaerobic digester in Newton Aycliffe.

While the council has been able to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill from 80,000 tonnes to less than 20,000 tonnes by switching to the Energy from Waste plant on Teesside with more than 40,000 tonnes, this has not helped the recycling rate.

The council spokesperson added: “Similarly, collecting food scraps is also not part of our waste disposal contract, although people can buy a discounted composter from the council which can also be used for some kitchen waste.”