Newcastle residents could be told to recycle fewer items

“Confused” residents could be told to recycle fewer items after costing council bosses £500,000 by putting the wrong kind of rubbish in their bins.

Newcastle rubbish and recycling bins – Photo courtesy BBC News Tyne & Wear/ Google

BBC News Tyne & Wear has reported the following story:

“Newcastle City Council said it was considering limiting its efforts to a small number of items that are “very clearly able to be recycled”.

The local authority must cover the cost of removing the wrong type of rubbish, such as nappies or food waste.

Contamination can also result in recycling being sent to landfill.

Nick Kemp, cabinet member for the environment, told a scrutiny panel meeting on Thursday: “It is quite a complicated area for something that should be very simple. We are looking at a revised strategy.

“We are looking at potentially identifying a smaller number of items that are very clearly able to be recycled.

“It may mean that more items that could be recycled actually go to landfill, but there would be less contamination.”

In March it was revealed contamination issues cost the authority half a million pounds in 2017/18.”

The above news item was reported on 26 October 2018 by BBC News Tyne & Wear and you can read the story on their website.

See also our earlier news story on Newcastle City Council waste strategy consultation

Newcastle waste strategy consultation

Newcastle City Council wants to hear residents views about waste.

The council wishes to gather the views of residents, businesses and stakeholders on how we manage waste in Newcastle.

The following announcement has been made by Newcastle City Council:

“Having asked for residents’ and businesses’ views on our proposed priorities for the Newcastle upon Tyne Waste Strategy in the first stage of our consultation, in this next stage we want to get people’s views about the specific actions we are thinking of taking to ensure that the Waste Strategy Action Plan will deliver the outcomes we want.

The Waste Strategy is being developed based on several key areas:

  • Behaviour change and education
  • Enforcement
  • Food waste
  • Markets and technology
  • Operations and planning
  • Partnerships, public and private
  • Recovering value from waste
  • Recycling and composting
  • Waste prevention, including reuse

To help us ensure we meet our outcomes, we want your views on the actions we are thinking of taking to achieve our goals for each of these key areas. You can find out more about this here: Newcastle Waste Strategy Consultation Stage 2 Information 2018

Please give us your views by taking part in our online survey, before 31 October 2018.”

The above news story was issued by Newcastle City Council and included on the Newcastle City Council website. It has been included here for information and does not necessarily represent the views of High West Jesmond Residents’ Association. 

Recycle your Christmas tree, don’t leave it in the back lane

Do not dispose of your Christmas tree in the back lane – this Christmas tree was placed in a back lane behind Ilford Road on 6 January 2018 – is it yours? If so remember to do your bit and recycle it by taking it to one of the council’s household recycling centres

It’s always a sad day when the Christmas tree has to come down.  But the good news is that any real trees can be recycled!

If you bought a real Christmas tree this year, you need to make the effort to dispose of it responsibly – don’t leave it in the back lane as Newcastle City Council will not collect it as part of household rubbish collections – you need to take it yourself to a household waste and recycling centre.

‘Real’ trees are recyclable and can be shredded into chippings which are then used locally in parks or woodland areas.

Remember to remove all tinsel and decorations and any pots or stands.

Find out more about recycling Christmas trees on the website.

Council will not collect Christmas trees from back lanes

Newcastle City Council’s website says that Christmas trees should be taken to one of the city’s household waste recycling points.

Christmas trees will not be accepted by Newcastle City Council as part of your wheelie bin household rubbish – so please do not leave them in your back lane.

Local Christmas tree recycling points are located at the Newcastle City Council household waste recycling centres (listed below).

Do not dispose of your Christmas tree in the back lane – this Christmas tree was placed in a back lane behind Ilford Road on 6 January 2018 – is it yours? If so remember to do your bit and recycle it by taking it to one of the council’s household recycling centres

Household waste and recycling centres in Newcastle


Brunswick Industrial Estate
Sandy Lane
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE13 7BA


Glasshouse Street off Walker Road
Newcastle upon Tyne


​Walbottle Road
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE15 8HY

More details and opening hours of Newcastle City Council household recycling centres

If you enjoyed your Christmas with a real Christmas tree then please dispose of it responsibly – recyle it by following Newcastle City Council guidance and taking it yourself to a household waste recycling centre.

For opening hours and more details about Newcastle City Council household waste and recycling centres please see the following web page maintained by Newcastle City Council

1967 – A back lane in High West Jesmond

Work in progress, a back lane in High West Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1967

A heritage posting from Chris Morgan

Cones had still to be discovered. Red oil lamps were almost as common.

At this time many houses still had coal fires and most had two trap doors penetrating the brickwork into the lane. One was a small wooden door, higher than those shown here.

The coal men would unload hundredweight (about 50 kilos) bags of coal through the doors into the coal shed behind. The coal men carried the bags on their backs with ease.

By the time of this picture most of the trap doors had been bricked up and the coalmen would walk into the yard before tipping the sacks into the shed.

Nothing would be delivered on a Monday as that was washing day with all the family washing hung on lines criss-crossing the lanes.

The two openings showing here were large metal bins that tilted outwards. They were an innovation from the time the houses were built in the 1905-10 period and were designed to empty into a refuse cart in the lane. I never saw them used like that in my time, from 40 years later.

Originally the waste was mostly ash from the coal fires. Shopping came wrapped in paper bags or cardboard that went on the fire. There’d be a few tins, but most bottles had a returnable deposit paid at the shop that sold them.

Then we had dustbins that made good big wickets when we played back lane cricket – over the wall is 6 and out!

Last time I looked down the lanes I noted there were still a very few of these little doors that hadn’t been bricked up.

Darker Nights – Newcastle City Council

With the clocks going back and the nights drawing in Newcastle City Council has announced preparations  to ensure Newcastle’s communities are a safe place to be over the winter months.

The Darker Nights campaign will see the City Council and Your Homes Newcastle (YHN), the organisation responsible for managing its council homes, working together with other partners including Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Northumbria Police, the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) and Trading Standards to help minimise the risks caused by illegal bonfires, fireworks and anti-social behaviour.

The Darker Nights campaign will be active in the communities of Newcastle throughout the autumn, winter and spring seasons.

Northumbria Police are launching their own proactive operation to address the different crimes that come with the darker months.

In the build-up to Bonfire Night, staff from both YHN and Newcastle City Council are surveying the fly-tipping hot-spots and removing any combustible waste with the council’s enforcement team prosecuting anyone found fly-tipping in the city.

The teams will be clearing away piles of waste that could be used for illegal bonfires and advising residents of how best to dispose of bulky materials that are building up in and round their homes.

Items like sofas and mattresses when set alight can emit poisonous fumes that may be harmful if inhaled.

Over the past two years similar community clean-up programmes have removed 43 tonnes (in 2016) and 70 tonnes (in 2015) of combustible waste from the streets of Newcastle in three days of intensive enforcement campaign.

Cllr Nick Kemp, Cabinet Member responsible for Neighbourhoods and Regulatory Services and also Chair of Safe Newcastle, said: “The aim of the Darker Nights campaign is to help protect the residents and businesses of Newcastle from anti-social behaviour that could cause people distress or even lead to loss of life. We are helping to raise awareness about the dangers of people creating and igniting illegal bonfires from discarded household materials. The campaign also looks at firework safety that will keep people safe from harm.

“The messages aren’t solely attached to Bonfire Night, as we want residents to be careful and vigilant throughout the darker night season during autumn, winter and spring. We are working with our partners to help create a safer Newcastle.”

The issue of illegal bonfires and anti-social behaviour seem to walk hand-in-hand, and, as part of the Darker Nights campaign, an education programme has been set up to try and help educate repeat offenders in association with Newcastle Youth Offending Team (YOTs).

YHN, Newcastle City Council and their partners would advise residents to always use licensed waste collection companies and attend professionally organised bonfires and firework displays.

The City Council would remind businesses and residents that Bonfire night is not an opportunity to get rid of rubbish and people can be prosecuted for doing so – the fine is unlimited and the maximum penalty is 5 years jail.

The above news release was issued by Newcastle City Council and included on the Newcastle City Council website. It has been included here for information and does not necessarily represent the views of High West Jesmond Residents’ Association.

Council looks to combat recycling contamination

Reduced recycling means increased rubbish costs

Newcastle City Council looks to combat ‘recycling contamination’ – Government Business
Newcastle City Council is experiencing increased contamination of recyclables.  Contaminated items can no longer be sent for recycling this costs the council more money.

This is a worrying development.  The council has been imposing more communal bins on areas of the city.

The proposal for communal bins in High West Jesmond remains very unpopular with residents with a recent poll showing that 95% of High West Jesmond residents were AGAINST communal bins.

One of the problems with communal bins is that nobody “owns” the communal bins and this is likely to lead to a increased problems with contamination of recyclables.

In the article below you can read how Newcastle City Council plans to fit “restrictor plates” to communal bins in an attempt to prevent people placing bulky items in them.  This will no doubt also make it more difficult for some people to use the communal bins which the council still plans to impose of other areas of the city.

Whilst we agree with the aims for a “greener and cleaner city” referred to in the article below, High West Jesmond Residents’ Association (HWJRA) supports the views of the majority of High West Jesmond residents and HWJRA opposes the introduction of communal bins – the risk of contamination of recyclables being just one of the reasons.

Marginal budgeted savings not realised?

If the recycling rate in Newcastle reduces and it costs the council more to dispose of refuse then it is likely that the marginal budgeted savings put forward in the council budget from the roll out of communal bins will not be realised.

The following news article was posted on the Newcastle City Council website on 1 August 2017. The views are those of Newcastle City Council and do not necessarily represent the views of High West Jesmond Residents’ Association.

Newcastle City Council news release

Communal bins with restrictor plates – Newcastle City Council
“Every month the City of Newcastle collects approximately 1,620 tonnes of recyclable materials in its blue and communal recycling bin collection, and is heavily reliant on residents putting the right materials in these bins.

In recent months, this collection has seen a worrying development with increasing amounts of non-recyclable materials, such as food waste, nappies, textiles, and black bags of general waste.

Recyclables contaminated

They are being incorrectly added to recycling bins, and this is interfering with the recycling process. The City Council is working hard to remind everyone to put the right waste in the right bin – recyclable items only in blue and communal recycling bins and non-recyclable, general waste in the green bins refuse bins.

Council plans more communal bins

The need to recycle properly is being pushed in the build up to the next planned stage of communal bins being rolled out in the coming weeks to some properties in the West End of the city.

The presence of non-recyclable, black bag waste in recycling bins leads to two major difficulties further along in its journey, when it arrives at the O’Brien Waste Recycling Solutions depot in Wallsend.

Recycling waste being rejected for recycling leads to higher costs

It leads to a high percentage of the recycling materials being rejected for recycling. For example, if food waste leaks into newspapers, the paper can’t be recycled and must be disposed of as waste. It also slows down the recycling sorting process as black bags need to be opened and checked by hand, an unpleasant job, especially when nappies and food waste is present. The effect is to lower levels of recycling and increase waste treatment costs.

Recycling rates in England have risen steadily since the early 2000s, peaking at 44.8%. However, in 2015, the rate of recycling fell for the first time to 43.9%. Part of the reason for this fall, particularly in large cities like Newcastle, is the impact of increasing levels of non-recyclable, black bag waste in recycling collections. Another, and almost polar opposite reason, is the amount of good quality recyclable materials being placed in non-recycling refuse bins.

Hopefully the drop in recycling will be an eye opener and encourage more residents to stop and think about their household’s recycling routine.

To give you an idea, in 2016, 19,450 tonnes of mostly recyclable materials were collected in the City’s blue and communal recycling bins. The level of non-recyclable material content in this collection of 1% (just under 200 tonnes) in the previous year, 2015, had risen to nearly 10% (just under 2,000 tonnes) by 2016. At the same time, a worrying amount of good quality recyclable materials was placed in refuse bins. For example, 840 tonnes of metal cans were correctly placed in blue/communal recycling bins, while just a little less than this, 700 tonnes of cans, were incorrectly placed in non-recycling refuse bins.

Restrictor plates to be fitted

One way the City Council is trying to resolve the issue is by adding restrictor plates to new and existing communal bins. The idea behind the plate is to try and discourage people from putting bulky items and black bin bags into the communal recycling bins. The design of the plate – similar to the shape of the London Underground sign – means that residents have to put fewer items into the bin at one time. Trials of the new ‘bin blocker’ plate have proved successful in some parts of the city, where contamination was an issue, which lead to them being introduced on all new bins.

Aim for greener and cleaner city

Cllr Nick Kemp, Newcastle City Council cabinet member for neighbourhoods and regulatory services, said: “The collection and emptying of people’s bins is an important function that helps keep the city ticking over. We introduced communal bins to some back lanes of Newcastle as the Council recognised that something needed to be done to improve the service; and to tackle the issue of excess waste littering the streets.

Waste contamination of recycling bins is an issue and it’s something that we’re trying to resolve. But instead of it being a short term resolution, we are introducing new methods to ensure the problem doesn’t continue. This includes newly designed bins, education programmes delivered by our enviro-schools and greater targeted enforcement that hits littering and fly-tipping perpetrators in their pockets.

“We will keep preserving with our awareness campaigns and delivering a service that will help Newcastle become a greener and cleaner city.

Kevin Hawkes, senior operations manager of O’Brien Waste Recycling Solutions said: “O’Brien Waste Recycling Solutions process recyclable materials delivered by Newcastle City Council and North Tyneside Council at our Recycling Facility in Wallsend.

We are seeing high levels of contamination in the form of Domestic Black Bag Waste, Nappies, Textiles and Glass. These materials cause major issues with the recycling process and result in contamination of recyclate sent for further processing.

Quality of material is now more important than ever and we would stress the importance of putting the right material in the right bin.”

For further information about communal bins, please visit