Helping to make our city greener

Opening of the new Peterborough City Council household waste recycling centre at Fengate EMN-190215-142031009
Opening of the new Peterborough City Council household waste recycling centre at Fengate EMN-190215-142031009

H as anyone had the opportunity to visit the new household waste and recycling centre (HWRC) in Fengate yet?

It’s simply the best, writes Steve Lane, Werrington First Independent Councillor. There’s no more climbing up steep, metal steps like those in the old Dogsthorpe tip. Being laden with sacks of rubbish must have been such a disincentive for a number of people with that obstacle, and they may have preferred to chuck it in their black bins, but this new facility goes a long way to helping change those habits. All we have to do in Fengate is just get out of the car, walk a couple of metres and drop the rubbish into the skips. Just about everything is at the user’s level and could not be easier. An added benefit is that access and parking are a definite improvement, and there is also a roof overhead, providing comfort and safety on a rainy day.

The HWRC opened last month, and has doubled the size of the previous facility. My hope is that it’s business will grow accordingly, because the amount of rubbish we throw away is increasing due to things like lifestyle habits and population growth. As an individual I cannot affect the population growth, but I recognise that I need to improve the amount of rubbish I recycle.

We all need to do so, because we cannot afford to landfill or burn it forever. This is recognised by Peterborough City Council who are always thinking of ways to improve on the amount we can re-use and recycle, and Government itself is now working towards increasing the support for local authorities through its Resources and Waste Strategy for England paper. It aims to encourage reduction of waste materials by making collections and treatment as efficient as possible. Councils have made great strides in recycling, with some as high as 60%. The average, however, like Peterborough, seems to have stalled at around 45%. The national target is 65% by 2035, so there is still some way to go.

With that said, I commend the thinking behind the new HWRC, that will hopefully make a change to current recycling figures. I can now also appreciate the energy from waste facility that opened in 2016. Both facilities will add to the city’s circular economy and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, minimise the depletion of natural resources, reduce carbon emissions and minimise the export of waste elsewhere. It also creates new job opportunities and boosts the economy, not to mention the strength it will add to the culture and standing of Peterborough as an Environment Capital.

Anyhow, the public still has to play its part at home, and I hope the Government’s thinking behind standardising waste collection will produce the results that will help us all to do the right thing.

Peterborough already has an established food waste collection scheme through the Hungry Harry bins, but I would like to see more householders adopting this practice. Government is considering appointing a Food Waste Champion, and I ask if that is a role for anyone at the council? I would also wish to see the re-introduction of the free garden waste collection we used to enjoy. Peterborough joined a number of other councils that charge for brown bin collections through necessity - cost savings, but with the right support from Government, I’d like to see free collections return.

However, as with all such efforts for future waste management, if there is an appropriate level of government funding, we will at least have a fighting chance of getting the system right for residents.

But in the meantime, let us make the best use of the new HWRC in Fengate and play our part for a greener Peterborough.