Stockton Heath Councillor Judith Wheeler who proposed the motion said:
Blue bins are emptied once a fortnight but not everything is so easy to get rid of. If you move house, downsize, clear out a loft, garage or shed or simply declutter, you realise just how many material possessions you have collected. Some of these may be broken or no longer required but they all had an environmental cost to produce and an environmental cost to get rid of. Many of these would be of value to others.
There are social media sites such as Freecycle, Before the Tip and local Facebook pages where you can advertise items but not everyone uses social media. Charity shops rightly have high standards for furniture and electrical goods which require PAT testing. Re-use and recycling are not the same. The re-use of products and materials is more beneficial because it retains inherent value by keeping the item in use for longer. This minimises waste, creates jobs, has a positive social impact, reduces consumption and associated carbon impacts.
The Renew Hub in Greater Manchester is the UK’s biggest re-use and repair facility and in its first year diverted over 500 tonnes from landfill. Items are deposited at household waste recycling centres and then taken to the Hub for refurbishment or resale. Othe local authorities are playing their part as pioneers, such as Cambridgeshire with its Repair Café Network which brings together people who need items fixing with people who like fixing things.
Grappenhall and Appleton Thorn Councillor Mark Browne who seconded the motion added:
There are many charities, businesses and individuals in the town offering solutions but getting hold of information on these is cumbersome and time consuming. There is considerable enthusiasm in the community for what we are proposing but we want the Council to do more and make information readily available to make it easier with one-stop signposting. In 2020 the Council had an aspiration to recycle 55% of all waste but in 2022 the actual figure was only 44%.
We welcome the support from all political parties for our proposal and it being sent to a Policy Committee for an in-depth investigation on the best way forward. We should learn from other authorities and hopefully improve our recycling rates as well as the re-use and repair of unwanted but still useful items and materials.