Waste & Recycling
Council issues smaller recycling boxes to protect staff
A district council in Cumbria has introduced smaller recycling boxes in a bid to protect its staff from back injuries.
South Lakeland District Council has started to issue residents with 44-litre rather than 55-litre blue recycling boxes in order to reduce the potential risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) to council staff and members of the public.
According to the local authority, the 44-litre boxes are the same length and width but just slightly shallower than the 55-litre boxes and should be capable of fulfilling households’ needs.
The move was motivated by national guidance from the Health and Safety Executive showing there is clear evidence associated with the risk factors of the weight and frequency of manual handling of 55-litre boxes.
As people request new boxes to replace broken or lost boxes, and as new houses are built and come on-line into the system, the 44-litre boxes are now distributed across the district.
“The latest council performance figures in October showed that the council was performing well against its recycling targets and the phased introduction of 44-litre blue recycling boxes will not affect that performance,” said South Lakeland’s portfolio holder for the environment, Cllr Dyan Jones.
“The Council Plan target is to see the amount of household waste sent for reuse, recycling and composting increase from 43% to 50% by 2019.
“A provisional figure of 44.4% was achieved in 2017/18 – an increase of the 42.4% figure for 2016/17 – and 95% of all the plastic, card, glass, cans and paper which is left out to be collected has been separated correctly, with each household recycling an average of 167 kilos a year.
“Our excellent waste collection teams play a huge part in facilitating this success and it is a win-win situation if a simple measure like reducing the height of our blue recycling boxes can reduce the potential risk to staff’s health and wellbeing while at the same time maintaining our tremendous performance,” added Cllr Jones.
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