The Rubbish State of Recycling in Portsmouth

Portsmouth City Council (PCC) has one of the lowest recycling rates in the UK, coming in at 340th out of 352 local authorities for the period April 2016 to March 2017, with only 24.7% of household waste sent to be reused, recycled or composted.  Emma Murphy, journalist and co-editor of the Green Party’s Green Pompey website, asks what we can do about it. 

If we’re lagging behind nationally, we also compare unfavourably with our neighbours. Chichester District Council is ranked 214th with a total of 41.1% of waste diverted from landfill. Six other councils in the south east also come ahead of Portsmouth, with only Gosport below us (position 344 and a rate of just 22%).

What can our community do to reduce the amount of rubbish sent to landfill?

Portsmouth has no mixed recycling bins in public places, which means that members of the public need to keep their recyclables with them until they get home or throw it in a rubbish bin. PCC should install mixed recycling bins in shopping precincts and along the seafront in order to save millions of plastic bottles and newspapers from landfill every year.

Other councils across the south east have taken this measure and the result has been increased recycling rates and decreased amounts of waste to landfill.

If PCC began collecting reusable and recyclable items at the kerbside, the following wouldn’t end up in the bin:

• mixed plastics
• glass
• textiles
• ink cartridges
• water filters
• plastic bags
• cartons
• green waste
• food waste

It doesn’t make sense that people can recycle glass in Southampton or cartons in Chichester from their front door, but we can’t do so here.

Until PCC sorts out its act, we’ll all have to do more ourselves, which means taking our recycling to the various independently-operated points across the city (and likely using more petrol in the process) and reducing the stuff that needs recycling, i.e. using a reusable water bottle.

If you want to find out more about recycling and reducing our waste in Portsmouth, the following websites are a great place to start:

Hampshire County Council: ‘Find ways to recycle or dispose of domestic waste’

Shades of Green: ‘Recycling the Unrecyclable in Portsmouth’

And check out the Green Pompey website for links to local blogs on recycling, and the #LetPompeyBreathe campaign.