Room for improvement when it comes to using the correct bins in Dorset

Aa extra £1.3million could be saved every year if Dorset residents always put the right waste in the correct bin.

The claim came at a meeting looking at budget for Dorset Council waste services.

Head of commercial waste at the council, Gemma Clinton, said that although the county’s residents were among the very best nationally for recycling there was still some room for improvement.

She told councillors that reducing the volume of waste, or recycling more, were the only areas where costs could be reduced with an analysis of household waste showing that, on average, 32 per cent could have been recycled.

Some of the county’s waste can be sold to recycling businesses, although the market is volatile and there are frequently times when what could once be sold, dips in price and the council then has to pay to take it away.

At the moment it is costing £1.1m a year to process the Dry Mixed Recycling which goes into residential kerbside green bins while the council is receiving an income of £366,000 a year for glass and £25,000 a year for a range of items collected at household recycling centres.

Councillors heard that because Dorset does well at recycling it has often been able to sell some of what is recycled, helping keep costs down, but as other authorities improve their performance there is a direct effect on the market price for recycled goods and, as more comes onto the market, prices go down, or worse, a charge is made for disposal.

Government rule changes are also having an effect: The recent reduction in charges for DIY material disposal at household recycling centres is estimated to cost Dorset Council an extra £500,000 in lost fees each year, with a similar cost for the way in which furniture, and other items, which contain certain long-life pollutants have to be disposed of.

Portfolio holder for waste and recycling Cllr Laura Beddow said other changes, which would also have a cost to the council, included the kerbside recycling of soft plastics, often used to wrap food, which the authority will be required to collect from the kerbside by 2027 and for which, as yet, the council had no sorting facilities.

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