Fri, Sep 17, 2021 9:56 AM
The Marlborough District Council will run a one-month trial to see if crate liners stop recyclables from becoming street litter. Photo: Brya Ingram/STUFF.
An experiment to cut down street litter in Marlborough has got the go-ahead, and already another is being considered.
The Marlborough District Council has agreed to line some kerbside recycling crates with plastic bin bags to test whether this stops rubbish being blown around in the wind.
The region’s waste boss suggested the experiment after struggling to find manufacturers willing to retro-fit new lids – a struggle Renwick Menz Shed realised it could settle, while raising money for friends at Alzheimer's Marlborough.
The club offered to build plywood recycling crate lids with handles, which the council could trial along its collection routes, similar to what it was already doing with crate liners.
Renwick Menz Shed members thought their bin lids would do the same job as the proposed crate liners, but be better for the environment, because one lid could last for years. They could even paint the lids to match the maroon crates.
Councillor Jenny Andrews asked at this week’s full council meeting whether the club’s proposal could be included in the wider experiment. Marlborough Mayor John Leggett says he hoped it would, as the lids had created discussion.
The bin lids were brought up right before councillors voted on whether to trial clear bin liners at about 125 households.
The crate liner trial received unanimous support from councillors despite some voting against the initial proposal last month, fearing the liners would put more plastic into the region's waste system – even if that plastic was recyclable.
Councillors Michael Fitzpatrick, Mark Peters, Jamie Arbuckle, Thelma Sowman and Barbara Faulls flipped sides after council waste boss Alec McNeil explained some plastics could be used to better the environment, like liners.
Councillor Cynthia Brooks says the crate liners could stop “a whole lot more plastic and litter” from flying onto the street.
“I think this trial is worthy of rolling out, worthy of seeing a reaction from the community, worthy of seeing results, and from there we decide on whether it’s the way we want go.”
Both Peters and Arbuckle made it clear to their fellow councillors they were still “uncomfortable” with the use of plastic but understood that the trial should go to the public.
The council had ummed and ahhed for more than a decade over whether to replace the crates with wheelie bins to protect recyclables from being picked up by the wind, with cost of rolling out two bins a house a regular sticking point.
This year the council agreed wheelie bins would be looked at in its next kerbside collection contract, set to begin 2024.
But Alec says wheelie bins are just as susceptible to blowing over in the wind as crates, only with worse results, because they hold more waste and are emptied less often.
Alec hoped liners would be a more effective alternative.
If supported, findings from the trial would be reported back to councillors and fed into the next kerbside collection tender. The council planned to publish the tender next year.