Feb 15

HWRCs in North Manchester – a Review

This is a review of HWRCs in North Manchester based on my observations from 6 HWRCs I have visited over the past 2 weeks.

I have written an individual report on each one so please feel free to check out the other posts and comment if interested.

Household Waste Recycling Centre Manchester

(Hurstwood Ct, Bolton)

I visited:

Hurstwood Court, Oldham

Drinkwater Park, Prestwich

Peel Lane, Heywood

Chandos St, Shaw

Arkwright Street, Oldham

Union Rd, Bolton

(… and also Bury and Bolton Town Centres)

The context was that I was taking surveys at the sites.  It has been reported in local press that 4 of the sites I visited are being reviewed with a view to closing them.

Observations and Conclusions

Well Run Sites

My first observation would be that I think Viridor are making a great job of running the HWRCs in North (Greater) Manchester. All the containers, skips and cages were clearly labelled so it was obvious where the public should place/pour/throw their items. The men were all friendly and helpful to the public and the feedback about the site workers from the public was excellent – even though it wasn’t on the survey! The men seemed dilligent in keeping the sites tidy and ensuring things ran smoothly.

Household Waste Recycling Centre Manchester

(Union Rd, Bolton)

Problems with Trade Waste

A big problem at some of the sites was traders using the HWRC to illeagally dump trade waste.

The men I spoke to about it were keen to prevent traders from using the sites. They did have some success in turning traders away however as far as I could tell a significant number still got through and offloaded their trade waste. The men told me traders would use tactics such as bagging all their waste up in black bags to conceal what they were tipping, they would bring a bit of domestic waste eg. toy box and say it was all domestic waste. If the trader was determined to offload their trade waste there was very little the men could do at some sites. At the bigger sites there is more checking on the way into the site as they have greater manpower.

I read yesterday that GMWDA are set to increase the barrier height at the entrance from 6’1″ to 6’6″.  I think this will only worsen the problems of traders visiting the HWRCs.

I think the men on the sites need to be given more powers to stop traders visiting HWRCs. Wheter this be more powers to stop them entering sites, to search vehicles of suspected tradespeople, handing out fines or banning some vehicles from the HWRC altogether. The aim should be to have zero tolerance of tradespeople on the HWRCs. They are depositing business waste and should do so at the correct rate. If something needs to be done about the charging for trade waste to encourage them to use the correct disposal routes then that should be done (carrot and stick).

Household Waste Recycling Centre Oldham

(Arkwright St, Oldham)

Charge for Using HWRCs?

From what I have seen over the past 2 weeks I think people should be charged for using HWRCs. I think they should be charged on what they throw away by material type and weight. I don’t think it is fair that some people who take care not to throw things out will pay as much to their local authority in waste disposal costs as people who give absolutely no regard to what they throw out and the amount of it.

I saw quite a number of people using the HWRC to dump surplus waste which could not fit in their regular bin and it was commented on by both the public and the men on site that a great deal of what is thrown away at the HWRCs probably works eg. electircals, furniture. To throw away items which work to be sent away to India and China to be dissassembled and broken down is insane in my view at a time when we must be aiming for sustainable consumption.  I think a study should be done on this – I imagine the results would be shocking.

Charging for using the HWRC would make people think twice before disposing of items, especially ones which work. Try Freecycle!

Reuse/ Repair Bay

One way of remedying the problem of throwing valuable items away would be to have a reuse/ repair bay. I spoke with one man who told me about a scheme at the HWRC in Scarborough where there is a bay for items which still work or are in need of minor repairs.

I think it is essential we get these at all HWRCs. I think this measure would keep a massive amount out of landfill and save on shipping the electronics etc. half way across the world to be processed.

The items could be sold at charity shops, raising money for charity and meaning the items got a new lease of life, there would be many wins in doing this.

You may have seen one example (from the Union Rd report) where I saw 2 old leather armchairs left at Union Rd. I spoke with the chargehand and me and him both thought they were Chesterfield and looked a bit like this (click the link =>) Here. That is just the tip of the iceberg.

Household Waste Recycling Centre Oldham

(Chandos St (Beal Hey), Shaw)

Site Closures – My View

Due to the local press reporting about the possible closure of 4 of the sites we were visiting for the survey, people were generally aware that some of the sites may close later in the year.

People were saying things like don’t close the site etc. as if I have any say in the decision. Thanks people, maybe one day.

My comments would be that these sites all seem to be in North (Greater) Manchester which on the face of it to me does not seem fair on the residents of North Manchester compared to the more affluent South (Greater) Manchester.

I would also comment that the large sites which will take up the extra visitors if the smaller local ones are to close already seemed busy.

Take for example Arkwright Street in Oldham. This site was very busy all day on a Tuesday. It is supposedly already much busier than this at weekends. How will they handle the extra capacity if other small sites nearby close eg. Chandos St?

Final Thoughts

I think the modern HWRC in North Manchester is a well run and efficient facility for handling waste and recycling.

I think there needs to be more deterrents for traders and the public dumping there eg. fines and charges respectively.

There needs to be a greater focus on reuse at the sites.

If you have read all the way to here thanks very much – it would be great to hear any comments you may have.


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