Recycling in Trowbridge – by Abi Starr March 2023

Recycling. We all know we need to do our bit; but it can be a bit of a hassle, can’t it? Making sure everything is in the right bin, getting it out on time and finding a place to take the items we can’t recycle at home.

Individually we might struggle, but Wiltshire Council is trying to support us in our efforts to send less to landfill; expanding the options we have for disposing of what we throw away. In December 2022, kerbside collections of batteries began. This saves us traipsing around town to find somewhere that recycles them and also reduces fires at landfill sites caused when batteries get mixed in with ordinary rubbish.

In the year 2021-2022, 42.2% of all Wiltshire’s household waste was either recycled, reused or composted. Initially, this sounds ok, but it’s lower than the figure for England as a whole in 2020 (44%). Perhaps if we could recycle or compost a wider variety of materials ourselves, we could catch up with the rest of the country. Although the recycling centre offers many options, it’s no good for those of us who don’t have access to a vehicle.

As of 2017, 44% of UK households had food recycling bins. In May 2021, DEFRA announced all UK households would have weekly food waste collections by 2023, but so far, there is no sign of that scheme being rolled out near here.

Globally, plastic remains the most problematic material. Some larger supermarkets now allow us to take soft plastics to them for recycling. But for me at least, it’s not very convenient. I don’t drive and only visit the supermarket once or twice a month, by which time even our small household has accumulated so much soft plastic it’s a real pain to carry on my 25-minute walk. I can’t help but wonder how much more plastic would be recycled if we could do it from home, even if it needed an extra bin or more frequent collections. I know we should be reducing our use of plastic rather than just recycling it; but until manufacturers change the way they package their products, recycling what we do use is the most realistic course of action.

Compared to the County town of Trowbridge, nearby Corsham seems to have a better handle on this issue. They’ve created a recycling ‘hub’, open three days a week at the community leisure centre. It not only offers a place to recycle what is harder to dispose of, it also raises money for charity. The list of what they accept includes plastic packaging, printer cartridges and medicine blister packs. Trowbridge does seem to be catching up, even if it’s taking a while. The town council have recently set aside £5,000 to establish something similar to the Corsham Hub here. It’s important to note that the location is key and it would have to rely on volunteers, so whether or not it will be a success remains to be seen. Still, forward is forward, no matter the pace. If we all band together to let the council know what we need from them, progress can be quickened and could perhaps bring our recycling statistics in line with the rest of the UK and lead to a more sustainable future for all.

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