Recycling rates in the Wirral have dropped even further with progress being slammed as “dismal.”
The latest figures from a Wirral Council environment and transport committee report showed the recycling rate for Wirral decreased in 2022 compared to the previous year with only 30.7% of waste recycled.
This was a further decline with the council now recycling more than 5% less than it did in 2013. In 2021, more than 90,000 tonnes were not recycled and Wirral came 285th out of 338 councils in England.
Figures also show that people in Wirral are producing more than three times as much rubbish as they are recycling. However, while nearly 3,500 tonnes less waste was recycled between April 2022 and March 2023, similar percentage drops for landfill, incinerated, and garden waste were also seen.
Not all of the waste put in recycling bins actually gets recycled either. According to the Merseyside Refuse and Waste Authority (MRWA), only around 80% of waste put in recycling bins can be recycled due to contamination or other factors.
Wirral Council in 2015 pledged it would recycle more than 50% by 2020 and the MRWA has committed to a target of recycling 55% of all LCR waste and 70% of plastic by 2025.
To improve things, the MRWA are advising people to check they are doing things properly through the Recycling Right campaign.
The rate of recycling in Wirral was criticised by Oxton councillor Allan Brame over a lack of progress at a recent meeting on 25 July. He said, “The recycling rate is dismal. It’s gone down. It was 35% a few years ago and it’s down to 30.7% and that is something really we need to look at and see what we can do to get that up.
“Other authorities recycle over 60%, it is an absolutely wretched performance and something is drastically wrong there.”
In response, Nicola Butterworth, the council’s director of neighbourhoods said the council was working with other authorities in the region, adding, “I think there are a lot of opportunities there to really drive those messages home around recycling.”
Mike Cockburn, the council’s lead commissioner on the environment said, “The recycling performance is static, it’s static across the city region. Our position is very similar to the other five local authorities in the Liverpool City Region. That doesn’t compare well to Welsh authorities. Welsh authorities are heavily subsidised by the Welsh Government.
“They are doing a commendable job in urban areas to get to 60% which shows it is possible in places like Newport or Cardiff. We need to learn from them.”
He said the council was working on a delivery strategy, adding, “The way we do refuse collection in the country is going to change significantly and we need to use that opportunity.
“30% by weight in our green bin is biodegradable waste that we can remove from the bin. It’s our last remaining opportunity to transform performance and that is what we are going to do as a region and a council.”
It was also revealed at the meeting there were 33,000 complaints about bins not being emptied on time over the course of the year with council officers saying most of this came during the winter period when bin collections were hit by strikes followed by bad weather slowing any catch up.