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Oxford City Council to remove recycling bring banks

Recycling bring banks that are operated by ODS and charities in the city are due to be phased out from the end of September.

Bring banks, which in the past have been used by residents to bring items for collection and recycling, like glass, cans, plastic, paper, clothing and small electrical items, will be removed due to issues at all of the sites that include overflowing bins, contamination with non-recyclable items, and fly-tipping.

Charity bring banks that are located on private land will not be removed. These include those at Sainsbury's at Heyford Hill and Tesco at Oxford Retail Park.

Councillor Nigel Chapman, Cabinet Member for Citizen Focused Services and Council Companies, said: “The bring banks served their purpose in helping with recycling, but things have moved on. With improved kerbside refuse and recycling collections we no longer need them. Kerbside collections are easy to use and residents no longer need to leave their homes to dispose of many items. The negatives now outweigh the positives and it’s time we removed bring banks from the city.”

Inappropriate use of the banks is common with the sites experiencing three main issues:

  • The wrong material being left in the banks means the waste becomes contaminated and it cannot then be sent for recycling

  • General household waste being left alongside the banks. Waste left alongside the banks is classed as fly-tipping, which is illegal and could result in prosecution. It also costs the City Council time and money to clear and dispose of

  • The sites being used to dump trade waste. Bring bank sites are for household waste only. Business need to have their own commercial arrangements in place for the removal of waste or recycling.

There are currently approximately 160 bring banks spread across 23 sites in Oxford that enable residents to recycle household waste including cans, glass, and clothing. Once removed, the City Council aims to recycle the steel and plastic from the containers or repurpose them for other uses.

The removal of the bring banks was agreed by the City Council as part of its budget-setting process earlier this year. It is estimated that removing the banks will save Oxford City Council around £100,000 over the next three years.

What are the alternatives to using the banks?

There are many alternatives to using bring banks to recycle items. For example, good quality textiles can get a new lease of life if you donate them to charity shops; or they could be sold or donated on online marketplaces such as Oxford Freegle. Any textiles can be recycled at your local household waste recycling centre. As a last resort, they can be put in the green rubbish bin.

Small electrical items in working condition may also be welcomed by charity shops. Any small or large electricals can be taken to your local household waste recycling centres. The City Council will also collect and recycle them at individual properties if they are left in an untied plastic bag on the top of your bin or sack on your collection day. Small electricals should not be placed in any of the bins.

For a comprehensive list of what can be disposed of in each domestic bin visit the Waste Wizard hosted on Oxfordshire County Council's website. Residents can also take items to the Household Waste Recycling Centres.

ODS will deep clean the sites once the banks have been removed. Waste left at the bring bank sites after the banks have been removed will be classed as fly-tipping, which is illegal. Offenders may be prosecuted.