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By Michael Brown

Senior Staff Writer

16 June 2020

| | 4 min read

Environment

City becoming cleaner, greener and more sustainable

Newcastle is well on the way to becoming a cleaner, greener and more sustainable city that wastes less and recycles more, councillors have heard.

Photo of Walbottle recycling centre with text Waste strategy helps city become cleaner, greener and more sustainable

A year after launching its new waste strategy Newcastle City Council has taken great strides to reduce the amount of rubbish sent to landfill, make its bin collections more environmentally friendly and encourage residents to put the “right waste in the right place.”

Cllr Nick Kemp, cabinet member for environment and regulatory services, said: “We set out an ambition to transform the way we think about rubbish, inspiring both individuals and organisations to change their behaviour and take responsibility for what they throw away, and to encourage people to be proud of the environment we live in.

“I’m very pleased that has been taken to heart, with our Your City, Your Home campaign seeing hundreds of volunteers coming forward to work with us to keep their communities clean, thousands of people taking part in projects to improve the amount and quality of recycling, and innovative new ways being found to make choosing environmentally positive options even easier.

“As a council we have seen the percentage of waste being sent to landfill fall by more than 10 percent while the amount sent for reuse, recycling or composting increased. They are trends that, despite the current pandemic, will hopefully continue as our actions over the last 12 months have greater effect.

“I’m also proud of the success of our new, dedicated team in helping to improve local waste ‘hot spots’, the introduction of the lower emission refuse collection vehicles and the digital developments that make our services more efficient and easier for the public to use.”

What has been achieved so far

A report to the authority’s Cabinet on June 15 highlighted how a specific focus on modernising and digitising services has seen innovations such as the new WasteBot permits for recycling centres, which reduced a 14 day process to 90 seconds; sensors being installed in all litter bins, which reduced the number of overfilled bins and improved the efficiency of pick-ups; and a greater use of handheld technology to provide frontline staff with the latest work requests.

Buying more fuel efficient bin wagons and a new contract that allows more plastic to be recycled is also helping to saving 30,000 vehicle miles annually, diverting almost 10,000 tonnes of waste – that’s almost one and a half Tyne Bridge’s worth – from landfill, and saving 5,600 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.

What happens next

Moving into the second year of the strategy good progress continues, though the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge.

The council has maintained all its bin collections, highlighted and acted upon issues of flytipping, reopened recycling centres when it was safe to do so and offered discounts on bulky waste pick-ups to continue to encourage residents to dispose their rubbish responsibly.

While some work has been delayed due to coronavirus disruption the authority is taking a number of positive steps, including continuing to try and source a fully electric bin wagon and working with businesses and NE1 on experimental schemes to improve waste collection and recycling in the city centre.

Find out more

For more information about Newcastle’s new approach to waste visit www.newcastle.gov.uk/our-city/new-approach-waste