Cllr Liam Quaide of the Green Party, has urged Cork County Council, to rethink their strategy after a plan to encourage the public to recycle on the go, was met with reluctance.
The Midleton based Cllr made the call after the Authority’s director of Environmental services declined a proposal by Fianna Fail Cllr Gearoid Murphy, to segregate public litter bins, with a separate section for general and recycled waste.
Cllr Murphy had lobbied for the same initiative last March but was met with a similar unwillingness.
Mr Murphy told full Council on Monday, Tidy Towns are finding it difficult to meet their sustainability requirement in the National Tidy Towns competition and his proposal could help with that.
“Many sustainability measures are outside the gift of Cork County Council as its limited in what it can do. However, this is one of the few areas in which the Council is in the driver seat” he said.
“This motion does exactly what it says on the tin, it is not seeking to install more or fewer public waste bins, it’s simply based on the principal that where the Council provide a bin, that it should have a recycling section.”
In a written report Louis Duffy the County’s Director of Environmental Services, said ‘the provision and operation of segregated bins will have a very significant capital cost, operational cost and demand on resources.’
He said in 2017 Dublin City Council established a pilot scheme whereby residents were encouraged to separate their paper, cans and waste at two City centre locations.
The initial scheme he said was a flop, as ‘the results showed unacceptable levels of contamination by use of the wrong bin, coupled with instances of domestic rubbish being dumped in them.’
Dublin City Authority are now considering a bigger pilot scheme, erecting a separate bin for recyclables alongside the waste receptacle.
Mr Duffy said he awaits the outcome of the trial to determine its suitability in the County.
Adding to the debate, Green Party Cllr Liam Quaide, said cross contamination is not a reason to give up on public waste separation.
“We won't have cultural change on recycling and waste separation until this is made easy for people and until there is monitoring of such bins and enforcement of penalties for those who misuse them.”
“There will be difficulties with implementation but the benefits of such an initiative would far outweigh these” he said.
“There is significant cross contamination of domestic bins. Does that mean we should give up on domestic recycling” questioned the Green party General election candidate for Cork East.
County Mayor Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan said that when the streetscape was laid in his home town of Clonakilty, West Cork, the bins were fitted with segregated bins for waste and recyclables.
The Fianna Fail Cllr said what he could see from the anecdotal evidence on the ground, “they have not been abused, and people are making a genuine effort.”
Fianna Fail Cllr Gobnait Moynihan said “It’s a very simplistic idea. Recycling goes on in the home and goes on in school. All we are asking is to give people the opportunity to continue that on the street.”
Council CEO Tim Lucey said there appears to be a lot of negativity in the chamber that the Council has walked away from recycling, which is not the case.
He said “let’s be clear where the ground lies in relation to this matter before we start blasting in the chamber as being defeatist.”
“There are over 150 bring sites across the county. So Cork County Council is providing a significant amount of facilities. Admittedly it may not be on a public street next to a public bin, but the fact is there are facilities and they are being widely used.”
The motion is to be discussed further when the County’s Environment special Purposes Committee meet in March 2020.