Waste specialist says recycling stats a load of rubbish

A waste regulation specialist claims the council’s recycling statistics are inflated.

Darren Hopkins is a self-taught waste regulation specialist, a job he admits has become a bit of an obsession.

The 50-year-old lives in Wootton and doesn’t believe the Isle of Wight Council’s (IWC) latest recycling figures are accurate.

The council say the Island has recycled 55% of all household waste in the 2017/18 financial year.

Darren Hopkins

Mr Hopkins explained his issue with that statistic, he says if householders can’t fit waste into the dustbins provided, they have a legal responsibility to employ a waste collector to take your waste away – which is leading to waste being “mislabelled” and therefore not counted in the recycling statistics.

He said: “Waste is not being classed as household waste, it’s being classed as municipal waste as it goes through private companies. Municipal waste under statute has a special meaning, it means, commercial and household waste that has been collected by the local authority.

“Yet it hasn’t been collected by the local authority, it’s been collected by a private business. And yet it is purely household waste, that isn’t separated and isn’t recorded for recycling statistics.

“Large quantities of black bag waste, and big bulky items that are difficult to recycle, aren’t being recorded as household waste, and so the council have inflated recycling statistics because they are hiding half of the stuff that they can’t deal with.

“The council have inflated all recycling figures. That has to equate to plastic recycling as well. A proportion of the black bag waste that Amey will not collect and people won’t take in their cars is being taken to the tip anyway, by commercial private local companies.”

Mr Hopkins added that the statistics are being skewed by the current system, whereby councils can use their own records to ignore the true amount of black bag waste that makes it to landfill sites.

“Hence why they’ve got one of the highest recycling rates in the entire country,” said the waste regulation specialist.

“There are hundreds of thousands of tonnes being hidden across the country from recycling statistics. It’s not just the Island that’s doing this, this is a national issue.”

Andrew Lidell, manager of Island-based waste management firm Westridge said: “Our statistics and whatever we do would not be associated with the Isle of Wight Council’s municipal waste – we recycle and we recycle commercial and industrial waste, we do no deal with the council’s municipal waste. What he’s saying doesn’t make sense.”

An Isle of Wight Council spokesman said: “All figure’s used are from the waste data flow which is an official document generated for use by the environment agency.”