Scepticism over Onchan waste drop claim

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MEMBERS of the island’s branch of Friends of the Earth have responded with approval but some scepticism to claims from Onchan Commissioners that the village’s waste production is falling.

According to latest figures from the commissioners, residents are producing less rubbish despite the end of their kerbside recycling scheme two years ago.

Latest commissioners’ figures show the annual volume of waste per person averaged 345kg – part of a downward trend which has seen a 17 per cent fall since 2005.

The authority’s chief executive Malcolm Hulme said the average household’s wheelie bin waste and gone down by 150kg per year over the past seven years, a 735kg fall overall per household since 2005.

‘That is a fantastic achievement. In total 650 tonnes of waste per year are now being diverted away from the Energy From Waste plant. This represents a saving to our ratepayers of £22,750 in disposal costs,’ he said.

However, Phil Corlett of Friends of the Earth said the overriding objective was to recycle as much as possible.

‘If there is a reduction in waste and this is being recycled instead this is good news,’ he said.

‘I know they were putting in more recycling points. I hope it’s true because I am surprised.’

Andrew Jessopp of Braddan Commissioners pointed out the recession would have a bearing on the amount of rubbish created per household, and he also said Onchan’s figures would have dropped since they stopped collecting rubbish for Braddan when Douglas took over last April.

Braddan opted to join forces with Douglas in order to continue the kerbside recycling scheme earlier this year.

‘I do treat some of their figures with scepticism,’ he said.

The news allays fears that the 2010 decision not to continue the government’s three-year kerbside recycling trial would increase the volume of rubbish going into people’s bins.

Mr Hulme said: ‘The commissioners at that time determined that the annual cost of £100,000 for the kerbside scheme could not be justified on financial or environmental grounds.

‘When Onchan withdrew, the weight of domestic waste did not rise. In fact, it continued to fall, despite an increase in population that would normally have produced an additional 250 tonnes.

‘This suggests that our residents’ support for recycling has been maintained and that the bring-banks are being well utilised.’

Member for Environmental and Technical Services, Derek Crellin, said their objective was to avoid any drop in the 350 tonnes per year of material which had been recycled by the kerbside scheme. This had been achieved.

‘We began with three new bring-bank sites, short-listed from nine options originally under consideration. Our recycling rate from those three locations is currently estimated to be in excess of 150 tonnes per year. In addition, the Government’s own bring-banks continue to be used,’ he said.

‘I want to congratulate everyone who lives and works in Onchan. These are great results.’

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