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Council clarifies new cardboard disposal plans

The Council has clarified how St Mary's residents should dispose of cardboard boxes from next month.

It was revealed in Senior Infrastructure Officer Helen Pearce's report for November 8th's Full Council meeting that waste collections will no longer include side-items, eg cardboard boxes, when dry mixed recycling is introduced on December 3rd.

All items for collection will either need to be placed inside the correct sack or taken to the Porthmellon Waste & Recycling Centre.

Asked by Cllr Steve Sims to clarify the situation for the community, Helen told Members: "Side waste (ie waste not in the bin) isn’t collected on the mainland. These tend to be the sort of cardboard boxes you can’t get in your dry mixed recycling sack. The waste site will continue to be open on Tuesdays and Thursday afternoon for people to take their oversize boxes, eg TV boxes, Amazon boxes etc that can’t be repurposed.

"We’re looking to trial Saturday openings to see how popular or in demand they are, but will be a longterm cost to that."

Cllr Sims pointed out that people can also spread their oversized cardboard disposal out over weeks, chopping it up and putting it in their bags gradually.

Council chairman Robert Francis suggested that more effort should be made with cardboard.

He said: "I’m a little bit embarrassed that we seem to be given an example by Tresco, which hurts me a little bit because I feel we should be doing this ourselves. I understand that they wrap clean cardboard, seal it and can now send it away directly on the steamship for less than £100 a ton. We’re sending [our recycling] for £300 a ton. I think we need to make more effort with that because cardboard is nearly 25% of our waste."

Helen responded: "I don’t think there’s any waste composition data to support that 25% figure but it is a sizeable amount... Once we have dry mixed recycling in place we will be looking into a segregated cardboard service as well. We plan to get cardboard into the system, it's just not quite ready yet."

Cllr Francis said that he hopes the community can help. "If we give instruction to the community of how to deal with their cardboard and help in this as well so we can have clean cardboard, we can seal it and send it away. If it’s not 25% that’s what it is on Tresco; it's certainly between 20 and 25."

Helen said: "I don’t think it is but I accept there is enough volume coming through that it’s worth our while to have it as a separate fraction. At the moment is included in the dry mixed recycling so it’s not going to residual and at some point when we’ve established that route we will be able to have that cardboard separately as well. But that will be an investment that will have to come through Council."

An insistent Cllr Francis said: "It seems to be a no-brainer so we should seriously look at it", to which Helen replied: "I can assure you it has been looked at and plans are afoot. We know exactly what we need to do; we're just doing one thing at a time so things don’t fall apart."

Cllr Sims had earlier said the Council is "very close to where we want to be" on recycling, adding: "It’s been a long, torturous process since 2013 and well done to everybody involved in it."

Helen then revealed that the "next big win" for the Authority will be to start removing organic waste from the waste stream.


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