City’s mission to increase recycling rates in low performing areas

Our cabinet members Cllr Martin Terry and Cllr Carole Mulroney have been visiting roads with the lowest recycling rates to encourage more recycling and speak to local residents about recycling habits.

Garden waste, Recyling and food waste bins outside home

The cabinet members answered any questions residents had about the service and asked residents to take part in a short survey giving them the opportunity to outline any barriers to recycling that they experience. One of the aims of the campaign is to find out what might prevent residents from making the most of the recycling and waste service.

The City is on a mission to recycle everything we can to improve the environment and to save vital resources. Whilst some wards within the City are already recycling more than 50% of their waste, others are not, and the council is keen to find out why this is.

Recycling has positive impacts both on climate change and finances. Any rubbish that is not recycled is sent to landfill, an incredibly wasteful and expensive way of dealing with our waste. However, every time we increase the recycling rate by just 1%, we divert valuable resources away from landfill to recycling and save local council taxpayers £120,000. By recycling, we can all ensure that our limited resources can be used where they are needed most.

Recycling also greatly reduces the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) being emitted into the atmosphere. In 2021, recycling and composting the content of the pink recycling sacks, blue paper and card boxes, food waste caddies and garden waste bins and sacks collected by Veolia in Southend-on-Sea, prevented the equivalent of 8,000 tonnes of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere. That is the equivalent of taking 1,725 cars off the road for a year.

Cllr Martin Terry, cabinet member for public protection, said: “We want to see our City and our residents take pride in recycling. We all know the importance of correct recycling and likewise, we know the damage that not recycling, or recycling incorrectly, can cause. We want to understand why some areas of the City are not recycling as much as they could, and work with these residents to benefit their local community, the City as a whole and our environment.

“The costs associated with not recycling is draining vital council resources, at a time where we all need to be sensible with our spending. We cannot keep spending millions per year on disposing of waste when all it takes is putting the right rubbish in the right bin. This money could be better spent on other services, with the council facing an incredibly challenging financial period ahead due to the cost of living crisis. Spending in excess of £17,000 per day on landfill disposal is not sustainable, and we need to take action now.

“We know there are barriers, which is why we are undertaking this project. I am pleased to be working with the cabinet member for the environment on this, to lead by example and encourage everyone to take this issue seriously.”

Stuart Atkinson, senior contract manager for Veolia, said: “We were delighted to work with Southend-on-Sea City Council to develop a refreshed and more accessible leaflet which we hope will encourage residents to start recycling more items in their pink sacks and use the food waste collection service, if they are not already.

“Recent analysis found that 60% of the items placed in black bags in Southend-on-Sea could have been recycled such as clean plastic pots, tubs, and trays and food waste. So, if residents are unsure which items to recycle, we encourage them to keep the leaflet displayed in the kitchen or double-check the information on the Council’s website. We ask that residents use their blue food waste bin so that food waste can be recycled into green electricity.

“I’d like to thank all the residents who have been recycling all they can for years, helping to fight climate change one peeling or pink sack at a time.”

Residents can find out information on recycling services, including what can and cannot be recycled, by visiting

Published: 22nd November 2022

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