Earlier this year, Northumberland County Council praised the success of a pilot pick-up scheme for glass, which involved 4,000 households at select locations.
The four trial areas covered Morpeth, Bedlington, Hexham and Alnwick with Lesbury, with each one comprising approximately 1,000 households.
And now the authority’s community and place Overview and Scrutiny Committee has voted to extend the pilot scheme by two years and include 800 more households.
A report heard by the committee stated that changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic, including a 22% increase in the amount of glass being collected for recycling in the county, have made it difficult to assess the impact of the pilot.
It said: “Covid-19 and the lockdown restrictions have significantly affected people’s lifestyles, patterns of consumption and recycling behaviours, making it difficult to distinguish precisely the impact the pilot has had on overall glass recycling levels.”
Initially, authority bosses expected that the scheme would result in 41kg of glass being collected, per household, per year. However, the actual figure was almost double that at 71kg.
As more people start going out to restaurants and pubs, the authority says it expects glass recycling to stabilise, and has decided to extend the pilot to March 31 2023, and include another 800 households.
The report continued: “As we move out of lockdown and people feel more confident returning to hospitality venues, we will hopefully see glass recycling tonnage at bring and HWRC sites stabilise, providing a clearer indication of the potential net growth in tonnage collected due to the introduction of the kerbside collection pilot.”
Speaking at Wednesday’s meeting, Coun John Riddle, cabinet member for local services, said the council needed government cash to roll the scheme out to the whole county.
He said: “It’s been a great success. We have got to extend this, it would be ludicrous to stop this at the moment.
“The reality is, until the government actually pays us to do more recycling, we cannot afford to roll it out county wide. It would be a massive cost and burden on us to do that.”