Swindon Borough Council’s month-long recycling box sorting push has concluded, but residents are being encouraged to keep up the good work long after the campaign has finished.

The campaign was launched in order to increase the number of residents who sort their waste into two or more boxes. The more waste that is sorted in this way, the less risk there is of contamination. Low contamination rates mean more of Swindon’s waste can be recycled, which will contribute towards increasing the Council’s recycling rate to 60% by 2029, a year ahead of the national target.

Residents are being encouraged to put paper and card products in one box. This should include paper, broken up cardboard (no bigger than the size of the recycling box lid), non-metallic cards and wrapping paper, junk mail, leaflets, catalogues, magazines, newspapers, booklets and envelopes.

Cardboard that is placed by the side of the box, providing it is broken down and displayed neatly will be collected by the crews. Large cardboard items will be left.

A separate box should then be used for all metal and glass products including glass bottles and jars, metal cans and tins, empty aerosols and foil.

Households who produce more recycling, can order a separate recycling box for each material at www.swindon.gov.uk/newbox.

During the campaign residents have fed back a number of queries relating to the service, which have been answered below.

Why do we need to sort our recycling when I’ve seen a crew dispose of everything in one bin?

In select circumstances crews will use a ‘crew bin’ to transport materials from households to the collection vehicle instead of having to carry each individual box. The materials are still being sorted although this practice may make it seem as though they are not.

Correctly sorted recycling boxes reduce the risk of cross-contamination, for example, glass mixed in with paper and card, which may result in recycling being rejected by the re-processors.

Why isn’t there any consistency between how different collection crews collect recycling?

Each crew has a different collection method. Some crews pile up materials at the kerbside before loading them on to the collection vehicle, other crews will load directly from the box to the vehicle. Both methods ensure recycling is sorted into the correct compartments on the collection vehicle.

Why don’t the collection crews return recycling boxes to the location they found them?

All crews are instructed to return the boxes to the place they were collected from in a neat and tidy manner. All vehicles are fitted with cameras and any reports of crews mishandling or damaging recycling boxes are investigated.

Why don’t the collection crews clean up spillages before they move on?

Any recycling that has been spilled during a collection will be tidied up by the crews before they move on. To minimise the chance of spillages residents are encouraged to ensure the lids of their boxes are securely fastened before being put out for collection. Any reports of crews leaving spillages behind are investigated.

What do residents need to do if their recycling isn’t collected?

The Council completes 150,000 waste and recycling collections per week, but sometimes crews are unable to complete their rounds due to traffic, blockages on the highways and factors outside of their control. In Swindon the missed collection count for the refuse and recycling service is below 50 for every 100,000 collections made (0.5%) which is the industry benchmark.

If residents believe their collection has been missed by the crews they should report it online at www.swindon.gov.uk/householdwaste by the end of the next working day.

Councillor Maureen Penny, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and the Environment, said: “I would like to thank residents who have responded to our campaign so far and also to those who were already sorting their waste correctly for our crews. Our teams have to work at a fast pace to ensure all collections are completed on time.

“In some cases we encounter problems that prohibit crews from completing their rounds. However, we always ensure issues with our rounds are reported and rectified as soon as possible.

“We need the help of residents to sort their boxes before putting them out for collection so our crews can empty the recycling into the collection vehicles quickly and efficiently.

“We would also ask that members of the public avoid blocking highways on collection days so our crews are able to navigate between roads with ease.”