Cromwell Polythene has experienced a ten-fold increase in sales of its multi-trip, polypropylene recycling bags among local authorities seeking to boost recycling rates in flats and tenement dwellings.
Traditionally a more difficult property type from which to collect, due to spatial problems and health and safety risks, local authorities are nonetheless keen to provide recycling services to residents in high rise and similar hard-to-reach homes. Flats, though, are subject to more legislation than kerbside properties, which can impact the cost and type of recycling service provided.
“There are a number of issues that make recycling in flats and tenements more problematical,” says James Lee, Cromwell Polythene’s managing director. “Security, limited storage space, fire risks and restrictions on vehicle access all pose challenges that need to be addressed,” he adds.
One local authority, which does not have a high percentage of flats in the local area, but which is nonetheless keen to boost recycling rates from this sector, is Test Valley Borough Council in west Hampshire, where residents previously had to work out their own system to separate recyclate and transport it to the bin store. Most flats in Test Valley do not have lifts, often requiring them to carry their recycling down stairs and walk long distances to the bin stores. The added effort of trying to find a way of separating materials and transporting it meant that some people did not recycle at all, or only very occasionally. An added complication arose when residents left recyclable material inside a carrier bag or similar container, causing problems at the recycling plant, which could not cope with the bags and where staff would not open them for fear of the safety risk posed by glass and other sharp items.
Now, using the multi-trip bags supplied by Cromwell Polythene, which provide the opportunity for high quality, six-colour messaging, as well as a convenient storage facility until they are decanted into the communal recycling bins outside, the council is collecting paper and cardboard, bottle-shaped plastic, tins and cans, as well as aerosols. And Councillor Graham Stallard, Test Valley’s portfolio holder for environmental services, reports an increase in volumes as a result, leading some managing agents to request additional storage bins.
“Residents have reacted very favourably to the new system and those we have spoken to seem delighted with the bag,” he says. “We have received many compliments as they see that the council is working hard to support recycling in flats. They also like the quality of the bag and the large, eye-catching images make it easier for them to identify what can and cannot be recycled.”
“The bags have achieved similar results for at least half a dozen other local authorities and as word has spread, so we have seen a substantial increase in sales,” says James Lee.