Call for Whitehead’s Reward4Waste trial to be expanded across Mid and East Antrim

Over 460 residents took part in a four-month pilot digital deposit return recycling scheme in Whitehead last year which saw 5,000 items recycled, according to the organisers.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 2:47 pm

Plastic and glass drinks bottles and cans sold at a shop in the town were labelled for scanning through the use of a ‘Reward4Waste’ mobile phone app and were left for recycling through kerbside collections.

A survey of participants showed that 85 per cent found it easy to recycle at home; 60 per cent had no idea what happens to their recycling; 35 per cent would recycle more if they knew what happens to deposits and 15 per cent are confused about which items can be recycled.

Plastic milk bottles were the most recycled items in the pilot, 51 per cent, with cans, eight per cent and glass bottles, nine per cent.

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Environment Minister Edwin Poots launching the pilot scheme in Whitehead last October.
Environment Minister Edwin Poots launching the pilot scheme in Whitehead last October.

Participants said they felt there should have been more awareness of the trial with more stores taking part.

The organisers reported that Rewards4Waste “works seamlessly with existing waste infrastructure” and had “high consumer acceptance”. A reward system resulted in £2,500 being donated to charity.

Commenting on the scheme at a meeting of Mid and East Antrim’s Direct Services Committee, earlier this week, Larne Lough Alliance Councillor Danny Donnelly who is a also a member of the council’s Climate Change Working Group, described it as “absolutely ingenious”.

“It is great to see people being able to donate to charities as well. If there is an opportunity to take this to a bigger level, I would encourage council to take it if at all possible.”

Blue bins may be replaced

Philip Thompson, the council’s operations director, said: “One of the benefits of the triple stacks allows that type of scheme to be put in place.”

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has applied to DAERA  (Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs) for funding of £4.2m to roll out triple stack bins throughout Mid and East Antrim.

Mr Thompson advised councillors recently that just 50 per cent funding may be available.

At this week’s committee meeting, councillors were told the cost of refuse collections in Mid and East Antrim was £12.6m in 2020/21 compared to £11.5m in 2018/19.

The number of households in the borough has increased during this period from 58,200 to 59,102.

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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Click here to read: Whitehead residents to get reward points for recycling

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