Belfast Telegraph

Bin laden: Derry City Council has thousands of unused recycling bins held in storage for two years

By Donna deeney

Six months after Derry City Council announced plans to address its poor recycling figures, the distribution of the organic waste bins and food caddies has still not happened.

This is despite thousands of new brown wheelie bins being held in storage at a site in Campsie where they have been sitting for almost two years.

The council said the reason for the delay is because it is still waiting on the delivery of specialist collection vehicles to handle the organic waste produced by households.

Last November figures released as part of a report of all municipal waste collected by local councils across Northern Ireland showed that Derry was at the bottom of the league for recycling with a level of just 28%.

This is almost half of the nearby Magherafelt District Council's recycling figure which is 55%, placing it at top of the league for the second year.

At the time a spokeswoman for the council admitted that it was not good but said it was because it did not have a kerbside collection service for compostable materials including food and/or green waste, but that there were plans to roll this service out.

Campaigner for greener recycling Paul Hughes, who is standing as an independent candidate in the forthcoming local elections, described the council's approach to recycling as “a joke”.

He said: “Almost two years ago we asked Derry City Council why all these brown bins were being held in storage in Campsie and why were they not issuing them out to people.

“It actually took us to issue a Freedom of Information request in order to find out that the reason all these bins were gathering dust was because there was no appropriate facility to process waste from brown bins.

“Six months ago they announced that it was all systems go and that everything would be in place so that the bins could be used in 2014.

“They made the same announcement in March but lo and behold here we are in the middle of May and not one house in Derry, Eglinton, Strathfoyle, Maydown or the Waterside has their brown bin.

“Derry is a joke in comparison to other councils’ approach to recycling.

“I know Limavady Council, Magherafelt and Co Down have had brown bins for years, but despite being the second city we are like a backwater when it comes to recycling.”

A spokeswoman for Derry City Council said: “Unfortunately there has been a delay in rolling out the food waste scheme due to a delay with the delivery of the specialist collection vehicles which will be used to collect the caddies.

“These will be arriving within the next 10 days and we will begin the process of delivering caddies to local homes on their arrival.”

The tussle over the issuing of the brown bins is just the latest waste processing row in the region.

Earlier this year the North West Regional Waste Management Group (NWRWMG) announced that it was recommending that its plans to construct a £500m gasification plant are scrapped.

The plant based in Campsie would have processed waste from Derry City, Strabane, Limavady, Ballymoney, Magherafelt, Moyle and Coleraine Councils but the issue of waste remains and failure to meet European targets on waste management could see fines of £500,000 a day being handed down to the council.

Lobby group, Zero Waste North West, said the best way to meet targets is to aim to produce no waste at all.

Judi Logue from ZWNW explained: “We have been really heartened by the public reaction to our campaign to stop this gasification plant and while all seven councils have yet to ratify the recommendation from NWRWMG so that the build will not go ahead, we are satisfied it is highly unlikely it will proceed.

“We are now working alongside Derry City Council to encourage people to adopt a zero waste approach and to get them to take the issue to the politicians on the doorstep ahead of the elections.”

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