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Pubs could help boost recycling rates in Torfaen rather than change rubbish collections, it’s been claimed

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PUBS could help boost recycling rates rather than reduce rubbish collections if a council had a better waste service in place, it’s been claimed.

Torfaen County Borough Council is currently asking residents if they would prefer wheelie bins from their homes to be emptied either once every three weeks or just once a month.

It says it cannot continue with current fortnightly collections, from March next year, as it must improve its recycling rate to meet a 70 per cent recyling target to be imposed from 2025. At present the council is recycling just 62 per cent of all waste, which is two per cent below the current target which could see it fined £100,000 by the Welsh Government for every percentage point it is short of the figure.

Opposition councillors have suggested the council could however increase the amount of waste it manages to recycle, and food waste composted which also counts towards the target, by improving waste collections for businesses. Councils have traditionally concentrated on household waste collections to address recycling targets as they are considred easier to manage than business waste.

After Llantarnam independent councillor David Thomas shared a news story about alternative plans suggested by councillors to boost recycling, two publicans stepped forward to say they would like the council to help them with recycling.

Jack Johnson, the landlord of the Mount Pleasant Inn, in Old Cwmbran, said he currently uses the council’s waste service – but said his biggest bin is filled with cardboard and food waste, waste which needn’t go to landfill.

The council doesn’t offer cardboard recycling for businesses and Mr Johnson said its food waste collections are unworkable.

As a result the pub boss said the giant 1,100 litre Euro bin, a four-wheeled industrial bin that can measure just over a metre wide and high, is stuffed full of cardboard with food waste also mixed in.

“As cardboard can’t be recycled it just all goes in together in the big Euro bin,” said Mr Johnson who added, while he has been offered food waste collections, they aren’t practical.

“The council gave us the option of recycling food waste as a pilot scheme but the bins were the same size as you see outside a residential house, they are no bigger than a foot high and very, very small.

“On food waste, from 100 covers, we could fill two black bags a night including all our prep as we do our own vegetables and all the stalks and sticks that go in there. It just doesn’t work for us to separate it into different bins and the kitchen staff would be running out to them every five minutes.”

The Mount Pleasant pays just over £1,341 a year, which is £25 a week including rental, for the big bin and an extra £132 over the year for recycling boxes for cans and £14.62 a fortnight for its bottles to be collected.

Louise Shepphard, the landlady of the Horse & Jockey, in Pontypool, said she currently uses a private firm for waste collections but would be keen to switch to the council it it could provide an effective service.

The former borough councillor said her pub “currently recycles everything” and said: “I pay £480 a month and the council could be having more revenue and upping their recycling figures, I would rather give my money to the local borough.”

She said council leader Anthony Hunt had been in contact with her, as a result of her comments on the post shared by Cllr David Thomas, and that he said he would consider information she had provided him with.

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Pubs could help boost recycling rates in Torfaen rather than change rubbish collections, it’s been claimed