Published on

20 March 2024

New recycling team offers handy hints on your doorstep

A new outreach team will be helping residents recycle more as household waste collections are changing this summer

Three women and a man wearing dark green council jackets, standing in a residential street and holding up information leaflets

Some friendly new faces are hitting hit the streets of Wokingham Borough to help residents recycle more of their waste.

The council's new recycling engagement team are now knocking on doors for a chat and giving out helpful tips in the run-up to the waste collection changes that are coming in mid-August.

Rubbish will be collected every two weeks from a wheeled bin, replacing the weekly blue bags, while recycling will be collected fortnightly, on the other weeks, from the existing green bags. Food waste collections are staying weekly.

These changes aim to increase how much waste is recycled rather than thrown away - which will reduce the borough's environmental impact and make much-needed savings, as part of the council’s efforts to protect services for its residents.

However, this will only happen if people recycle as much as possible - which can easily be done with some simple changes.

Two smiling women in green council jackets chat with a man on his doorstep while pointing to an information leaflet about waste collections

Got a minute? Stop and say hi!

Newcomers Bethan and Charlotte will join Jonathan, the council's climate change and recycling specialist, and other team members on visits to thousands of homes over the coming months.

With their distinctive dark green uniforms, they'll be giving out leaflets packed with advice about what goes in the green bags and food waste bins.

A recent look at some blue bags put out for collection showed food waste was a major area for improvement, so anyone not already recycling food waste is urged to get into the habit.

Green bags, food waste bins and indoor food caddies can be collected, free of charge, at 17 community hubs across the borough.

The team will also look at blue and green bags, and food bins, on collection days and offer advice if waste is in the wrong containers - as well as thanking people who recycle all they can.

About 57 per cent of the borough's waste is currently recycled, up from last year's figure of 54 per cent, but this could go up to 70 per cent if no recyclable items are thrown away. This would exceed the borough’s recycling targets and reduce carbon emissions in line with its climate emergency goals.

Four women and a man in dark green council jackets pose with a new black wheeled bin at the council's offices

Looking forward to meeting you

Bethan said: "I'm really excited about getting stuck into this role. It's a chance to get out there and meet lots of new people and, hopefully, help them make simple and lasting changes to make their lives easier when the new collections start."

Charlotte said: "We know change can be hard, especially when life is so busy, but we need to recycle as much as we can. If you're still throwing lots of things away instead of recycling them, we're here to show how easy it is to do the right thing."

Despite the rising recycling rate in Wokingham Borough, there are still areas where more could be done.

In a recent sample of blue bags from selected streets, 62 per cent of the contents could have been recycled. This included food waste (20 per cent), paper and card (11 per cent), garden waste (10 per cent), reusable textiles (eight per cent), and recyclable glass, metal and plastic containers (13 per cent).

As well as producing fewer carbon emissions, which can reduce the effects of climate change, it costs far less to recycle every tonne of waste than to burn it for energy or send it to landfill.

Jonathan said: "Some people may not realise it, but there are very few items that belong in your rubbish. If you put them in the correct recycling container instead, you shouldn't have to worry about having enough space in your new wheeled bin".

Two women in dark green council jackets smile and chat with each other as they walk down a street holding leaflets

Here to help at every step

Residents can also speak to the team at fetes, fairs and other community events this spring and summer, where they'll have a colourful stall with helpful information on display.

Cllr Ian Shenton, executive member for environment, sport and leisure, said: "We're delighted to welcome Bethan and Charlotte on board and hope you'll give them a warm welcome if they stop by.

"Your support is vital to the success of our collection changes, which will help us meet our climate emergency commitments and make much-needed savings in one of the toughest financial climates we've ever faced.

"However, we know some people might still feel a bit daunted by recycling, even if they want to do the responsible thing, and our team are here to show that it's an easy habit to get into.

"Once you've tried it a few times, using the leaflets we're offering if you need a simple guide, we promise it'll become second nature - and you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that you're helping us work towards a greener future."

For regular updates straight to your inbox, sign up for the fortnightly Rubbish & Recycling newsletter.

Four green recycling bags, a black wheeled rubbish bin marked "your new bin" and a food waste bin behind a house

Get ready as change is coming

The 180-litre black wheeled bins will be delivered to households from late May onwards, though residents shouldn’t use them until collections change in mid-August. More details about the new collections will be published nearer the time.

Only one full rubbish bin, with the lid closed, will be collected from mid-August. There'll be no limit on how many green bags can be put out but up to four, a total of 240 litres, should be enough for most homes if people squash the contents to make best use of space and seal them properly.

Residents can also subscribe to the council's fortnightly garden waste collections and take items like glass or reusable textiles to recycling banks. See Recycle Now's free Recycling Locator tool for more information.

Get updates to your inbox twice a week

Give website feedback