What colour are your bins? Residents admit they’re confused as Greater Manchester councils have 10 different bins in use

Increasing environmental awareness has seen recycling rates rise dramatically over the past 20 years, and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority is keen for us to recycle more.

Few other areas provide household food waste collections, while Trafford has some of the highest recycling rates in the North West.

To avoid contaminating recycled materials, local authorities provide a series of separate bins, with each Greater Manchester borough collecting four different waste and recycling bins from every household.

Each borough, however, has adopted its own colour scheme, with ten different bin designs in use across Greater Manchester.

This patchwork of bin colours is confusing for residents, particularly if they move from one area to another.

Tameside has green bins for general, non-recyclable household waste, but move just a few streets into Manchester, Stockport or Oldham, and green is used for food and garden recycling.

Although each borough does use its own colour scheme, the materials which can be recycled in each bin are consistent, except for Wigan.

Other parts of the country, for example, have no food recycling or collect paper and plastic recycling in a single bin.

Since the end of 2018, the government and recycling charity WRAP have launched consultations to investigate introducing a unified system nationwide, which would see each area collect the same types of recycling and adopt a single colour scheme.

A WRAP survey found that 88% of respondents favoured a national colour scheme, which would make it simpler for people to recycle and make it easier to run national recycling campaigns.

This would be expensive to introduce, however, and could cause short-term confusion.

The possibility of a nationwide scheme in the future also prevents Greater Manchester from introducing a unified colour system across its boroughs, to avoid changing colours twice.

Each borough except Wigan is part of the Recycle for Greater Manchester campaign, which aims to educate and encourage residents across the region to recycle more, but for now, the details of what to put in each bin will have to be left with the individual councils.

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