Cardiff plans pop-up mobile recycling centres instead of a tip

Pop-up recycling centres moving around Cardiff could replace the former Wedal Road tip under new plans to revamp how the city recycles.

The Wedal Road household waste recycling centre in Roath closed in 2018 and Cardiff council has struggled to find a replacement site since.

More than £3 million has been budgeted for its planned replacement since its closure, but left unspent.

As a potential alternative, council bosses are exploring plans for mobile recycling centres, which would appear in parts of Cardiff at regular intervals.

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Councillor Michael Michael, cabinet member for clean streets, recycling and environment, said: “When I first got involved in this, recycling was at four per cent and we had a tip, everything just went to the tip.

“This has changed tremendously and I believe it will carry on changing. I think the idea of having a huge place where everything gets dropped there is changing, and we should be in a position to change with it.

“I think pop-up services that go to the customer are going to become more prevalent.”

He revealed the plans to councillors on the environmental scrutiny committee on Wednesday, September 22, after questions about how the replacement development plan could drive up recycling rates.

One issue with the huge new housing developments on the outskirts of Cardiff is they are far away from the city’s two household waste recycling centres, at Lamby Way and Bessemer Road. The closure of the recycling centres at Wedal Road, and also Waungron Road, have meant some residents must travel further to recycle their waste.

The Wedal Road centre was closed due to congestion and the impact on traffic nearby, while the Waungron Road site shut in 2014 and the council is planning to build a small bus station there. But mobile recycling centres could see the distance residents need to travel significantly reduced.

Cllr Michael told councillors any replacement site for Wedal Road could be unpopular with neighbouring residents, and the council was discussing with other cities who are also exploring the idea of pop-up recycling centres.

He said: “It’s great for some politicians to say they want a recycling centre where they want it, because it makes a political point. But if you want to create chaos in an area, tell the residents you’re going to build something like that near to them. It’s not as popular as they think.

“If we can find different ways of delivering it then we should look at them. And that’s exactly what we’re looking at. There are other cities that are looking at something similar and we’re discussing it with them.

“I believe pop-up services that allow the residents to recycle certain items and then move on somewhere else in the area at regular intervals is one of the ways to go.”

The proposal for pop-up centres is likely to be included in the upcoming draft recycling strategy in November, which could have major impacts on how Cardiff recycles. Another proposal in the strategy will likely be a kerbside sort pilot, where residents would separate plastic, glass and paper into different containers in a bid to reduce high contamination rates.

A spokesman for Cardiff council said: “The council is committed to increasing the city’s recycling performance and is exploring many options to recover and recycle as much waste as possible. We do want to make recycling as accessible as possible, so mobile pop-up facilities are being explored.

“The drop-off facility, provided last year in north Cardiff for residents to drop off their Christmas tree for composting, is a good example of how this can work. Recycling facilities for items such as small electrical appliances, textiles etc, are also being explored at Cardiff’s Hubs located across the city.

“Currently Cardiff has two, large, recycling centres at Bessemer Close and Lamby Way. Both of these facilities currently have good availability to book spaces, so that larger items can be brought to these sites. We would encourage residents to take up the many spaces available at these super sites to dispose of their recyclable materials.”

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