Picture of the graphic recycling message on the side of a bin lorry from Dorset Waste Partnership's

Dorset Waste Partnership uses Spedian to help residents sort recycling

Published:  14 November, 2017

Helping people remember what rubbish goes into which wheelie bin or recycling box is a challenge for local authorities trying to increase recycling rates and divert waste from costly treatment or landfill.

If residents put the wrong items into the recycling bins and the bin crews are unable to spot it in time, a whole batch of recycling can be spoiled, potentially leading to additional cost to the council due to poorer quality of the batch.

And if confused householders give up and throw recyclable rubbish into general waste bins, the council will end up footing a higher bill for waste treatment or landfill tax, which is charged per tonne and goes up every year.

But Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP), which collects and disposes of rubbish for over 200,000 households across Dorset, is being helped to get the message over by Spedian.

The partnership of seven councils has fitted Spedian re-usable, lightweight graphics systems to the sides of 25 of its bin lorries which visit every street where collections take place.

Messages based around the theme Right Stuff, Right Bin will be prominently displayed for all to see as part of the partnership’s ongoing public information campaign.

Messages can be tailored to address any particular issues which may arise because the Spedian graphics panels can be quickly replaced and the used graphics stored for use another day.

Dorset Waste Partnership was formed in 2011 to save councils money and roll out a new service across the county. Kerbside recycling services were fully delivered to the whole county by October 2015 whereby every household in the county receives exactly the same service. Previously, in common with most counties, district/borough councils chose how to collect rubbish and the county council was responsible for disposing of it.

The partnership achieved the highest countywide recycling rate in 2015/16 in England and recycled nearly 60% of its waste compared to a national average of 43.9%.

Karyn Punchard, director of Dorset Waste Partnership, said: ‘We have made great strides towards our recycling targets and are very grateful for residents’ co-operation. Now we have to optimise what we do to reach our targets.

‘Diverting recyclable materials from landfill and treatment will help to reduce council tax bills while safeguarding the very special Dorset environment.

‘Putting messages on the sides of our refuse and recycling vehicles provides an important marketing tool for us. It is an easy way to ensure our messages have a high profile and are seen on a regular basis all across the county.

‘The beauty of the Spedian system for us is that we can target messages to specific audiences. If, for example, we wanted to reinforce the message about food recycling in a particular part of the county, we can change the graphics for the vehicles on those rounds.’

Increasing levels of food recycling is a priority for the partnership. The DWP provides weekly collections of food using 23 litre brown outdoor bins and small household caddies for use indoors to encourage recycling.

Despite most residents separating out their food in their brown food waste bin, food waste still takes up one fifth of Dorset's rubbish bins, by weight. This is bad for the environment and the tax-payer, as waste mixed with food is either sent away for expensive treatment or goes to landfill, creating harmful gases and costing more in Landfill Tax.

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