Covid and Brexit blamed as East Lothian's recycling scheme stalls

Brexit and a lack of drivers has forced a local authority to delay introducing a new recycling scheme after key waste bags were held up in an English port.

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Householders is East Lothian were due to have a sixth recycling container added to their homes from September 20 with weighted bags brought in for for plastic, metals and cartons.

However the plans have now been put on hold after shipping containers carrying the bags were delayed at Felixstowe.

All at sea: The recycling bags are stuck in a container at the Port of Felixstowe

The council has said it now aims to introduce its new “wash and squash” system by the middle of November.

Letters are due to be sent to homes telling residents about the delay.

Environment spokesperson, Councillor Norman Hampshire, said: “The shipping containers are currently being held at the port in Felixstowe.


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One of East Lothian Council's custom-built recycling vehicles

“This is extremely disappointing and frustrating and has resulted from twin impacts of Brexit-related delays with shipping deliveries and driver shortages and ongoing Covid restrictions.

“A letter is being sent out to all households across East Lothian advising residents to continue to present their recycling separated in the blue and green boxes and on their old collection scheduled dates until the new service starts from Monday, November 15.”

Booklets were sent to every home in the county last month outlining the wash and squash technique people need to apply to use the white bags.


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New instructions tell residents to rinse metal containers and “wash and squash your plastics and cartons”.

The squashable items include food and drink bottles, toiletry bottles, tablets and medicine bottles, food pots tubs and trays, detergent bottles and tubs fruit juice, milk, soup and sauce cartons.

The white bag will join the normal green household waste bin, brown garden waste bin, a blue box for paper and cardboard, green or black box for glass bottles and jars and a food waste caddy.


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Officials say separating the collection into two containers means they can now collect food and drink cartons.

And it allows them to collect weekly after introducing a new fleet of vehicles specifically to deal with refuse demands and the need for increased recycling of materials normally discarded or sent to landfill.

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