Graham Godwin-Pearson: Kerbside plastic recycling in Bristol - we should be ashamed

Chairman of Bristol West Conservatives, Graham Godwin Pearson says: It is with a fanfare that Bristol City Council has announced that plastic is to be collected from outside every house from next year. A newly negotiated contract means that we will all be able to put milk bottles, yoghurt pots and plastic trays outside, rather than having to take them to the supermarket. However, I can't help but think - for a city that calls itself 'green', why is this service only just starting?

A quick glance at the figures of the limited trials around the city (see below) shows that households are 9 times more likely to recycle plastic if they can put it outside, than they are if it means taking it to a recycling bank.

Anyone walking through Clifton (and many other parts of Bristol) will have seen how the new intake of students each year naively leave their plastic outside to be collected, only to have it left in the black boxes or strewn across the pavement.

Why is this? Well the sad truth is that Bristol is one of the last cities to adopt kerbside plastic collections. In most cities, towns and villages, plastic has been collected from the kerbside for so long, it's become second nature. This includes all of our neighbours - South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset, who must wonder why we call ourself a 'green city'.

Those of you who know me will be aware that I have long been a passionate supporter of recycling and I am bitterly ashamed of the council for sending tens of thousands of tonnes of plastic to landfill when it's been possible to recycle it for years.

The original date for the new recycling contract to start was this month - somehow that's slipped to next year already, but in my mind it cannot come soon enough.

Read more

Plastic to be collected from November (Evening Post, May 2011)

Opening the lid on bottle collection (Evening Post, April 2010)