Council says ‘opt-in’ scheme means more waste can be recycled

Green bins in Leeds.
Green bins in Leeds.

Leeds City Council wants to continue to encourage more people in the city to recycle, despite a report which hinted some communities may have to ‘opt-in’ to having a green bin.


A report, which went before Leeds City Council’s environment, housing and community scrutiny board, said there were “other areas of the City where this model may be appropriate” when citing schemes in Headingley and Harehills where residents have to request a green bin.

But the meeting heard that when residents opt in to the scheme, rather than being given recycling facilities automatically, there is less chance of the waste being contaminated, and more can be recycled.

A Leeds City Council officer told the meeting: “There is a reference in the report to some schemes in some parts of the city where we have areas where there are lots of bins on the street causing an obstruction, but also where the recycling and infrastructure isn’t producing high-quality recyclable waste that we can do something with, unless it’s at some considerable expenditure to re-sort.

“Obviously in some parts of the city we have taken a different approach, but we will use the opportunity to reaffirm our strong commitment and interest in recycling.

“That commitment to recycling remains undiminished and we are increasingly ambitious to do an awful lot more in the city.”

When asked about where other areas for the opt-in scheme may be, the officer responded: “The report makes reference to Headingley and Harehills where that is already in place, and we say in the report that there are other areas of the city where that model may be appropriate, but we are not at the point of being able to say ‘those areas are X, Y and Z’, we couldn’t be doing that without absolute full consultation.”

Another officer, when referring to the ‘opt-in’ schemes in Harehills and Headingley, said: “At the time (we introduced them) members were fully involved and helped us select the areas. It went excellently on both areas.

“It actually had the effect of increasing the amount of recycling that we could do something with that came out of the areas.”

Coun Hannah Bithell (Lab) added: “I went to uni in Leeds, hence coming up here from being a southerner, and it was a source of immense frustration for us as students that we couldn’t recycle because we knew full well that, having been told that so much of (local recycling bins) was contaminated, our putting recycling in was a complete waste of time.

“To then hear that something has been done about that since I have left, and now students can recycle is absolutely wonderful. If we are training students and students more inclined to recycle with that education, then we are not just training the students, we are training the future of the young professionals.”