A fresh call has been made for Reading Borough Council to introduce kerbside glass recycling amid claims it is stalling.
Kerbside glass recycling collections are present throughout the country, including in neighbouring West Berkshire.
Yet in Reading, residents must recycle glass at bottle banks instead.
Recently, councillor James Moore (Liberal Democrats, Tilehurst) asked for an update on whether kerbside glass recycling would be introduced in Reading.
Cllr Moore also blasted the council’s record on recycling.
He said: “According to the last released Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) figures, Reading Borough Council is currently 240 out of 338 in the English Councils recycling league table, whereas the top four Councils in the same table are all run by the Liberal Democrats.
“In line with the council’s commitment to a climate emergency and reaching net zero, when is kerbside glass recycling planned to be introduced, a service long-requested by the residents of Reading for many years?”
His question was answered by Karen Rowland (Labour, Abbey), lead councillor for environment services.
Cllr Rowland rebuffed cllr Moore’s statistics about the council’s recycling record stating the figures are out of date.
She said: “Firstly, I’d like to set the record straight regarding your quoted figures. The figures you’ve quoted are from DEFRA’s 2020/2021 data, prior to the inclusion of Reading’s food waste collections that saw a significant increase in the council’s recycling rate from 36.1 per cent to over
50 per cent.
“I am sure that you can see therefore why they have no relevancy with where we are today.”
Cllr Rowland went on to explain that the council will not introduce kerbside glass recycling until clarity is given on how waste collection services will be funded in the future.
It is understood the details of how waste disposal schemes will be funded will be defined in ‘secondary legislation’ following the passage of the Environment Act in November 2021.
Cllr Rowland argued that the council is not prepared to introduce on its own.
She said: “If this council introduced a glass collection service now the additional vehicles, systems and staff would have to be funded from the council budget with little or no chance of claiming back those costs through any future ‘producer pays’ scheme which the Government has suggested could be a likely route of recourse.
“That would inevitably have a knock-on detrimental impact on other services for residents. Despite our proven commitment to increasing Reading’s recycling rate, Labour Councillors are simply not prepared to take the financial risk of rushing out a kerbside glass collection before the Government clarify their position with the secondary legislation.”
Cllr Rowland added bottle banks allow people to get rid of glass “at a time that suits them”.
There are a total of 210 banks at 51 sites in Reading, which can be found using the re3cyclopedia.
However, some bottle banks in West and East Reading have become popular fly-tipping sites, requiring clean up from council street cleaning teams.
Flytipping can be reported on the Love Clean Reading app.